In recent years, efforts at the state level to discourage instances of auto insurance fraud have increased significantly, and such a move recently became law in New Jersey. Now, when police pull over drivers in the Garden State, they will be allowed to show electronic proof of their coverage, instead of standard paper forms that can more easily be forged. This may be good news for residents, as it could serve to bring down premiums state-wide, and might also give insurance agents the impetus to talk to their clients about the ways in which these changes could be major positives for them going forward.
As a result of the change, which was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this week, people who are pulled over in New Jersey will be allowed to pull up proof of insurance on a tablet, computer, or smartphone, rather than present a piece of paper, according to a report from the Associated Press. In the past, this would have been illegal, as only paper proof was permissible. Proving insurance coverage the old fashioned way is still allowed under the new law.
What else should drivers know?
These laws are becoming increasingly common across the country, and many of them – including New Jersey’s – are being written with privacy in mind, the report said. When drivers hand over a device to allow a law enforcement official to verify their coverage, that is the only thing the officer is allowed to check on the phone. Specifically, showing this information does not constitute consent for either a police officer or judge to view other information on that device.
Part of a trend
Again, more states are moving to adopt this kind of allowance for drivers. The immediate benefits are obvious: Consumers will only have to visit a website or click on an app to provide proof of insurance, and that is data that updates automatically. The convenience of not having to worry about replacing the paper every year or six months can be a big relief. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials will also be in a better position to spot fraudulent information, because it’s unlikely that people would be able to forge data that’s updated online in the same way.
These changes should prove positive for state residents, because it allows them a little more convenience when they get pulled over, and could also serve to reduce their premiums over time. That, in turn, will typically lead to people feeling better about their coverage overall. But beyond that, insurance agents may be able to have a little more sway over those feelings than they might think; data suggests that people who have a good relationship with their insurers or agents tend to be more satisfied with their coverage overall. Therefore, any efforts to keep people informed about their plans and the changes that might affect it should go a long way toward boosting customer satisfaction numbers, and even client retention rates.