Ask a soldier: proof of insurance can be electronic in Minnesota


Question: Hello, I watched a story that involved a carjacking in St. Paul, Minnesota. I live in Minnesota. The carjacker was apprehended while attempting to rob the victim’s home using the address found on insurance documents located in the victim’s car.

I am writing to you to find out if I could take a picture (using my phone) of my insurance and registration documents to show proof of insurance and registration? The Wyoming, Minnesota police officer suggested doing so.

Would this be accepted by all police and highway patrol officers across the United States? I would appreciate any information you could provide.

Reply: Hello and thank you for the question. All drivers must keep proof of insurance when driving. They must also produce this proof of insurance to an agent when requested during a traffic check or a road incident such as an accident.

Proof of insurance can be in electronic form, that is, textual or pictorial content in a form that can be viewed on a computer or other digital devices.

So yes, a photograph of the actual insurance card or a screenshot of the format is sufficient. The information required for proof of insurance is:

(1) the name of the insured;

(2) the policy number;

(3) the policy coverage dates;

(4) the make, model and year of the covered vehicle;

(5) the vehicle identification number or at least the last three digits of this number; and

(6) the name of the debtor providing the cover.

Most paper “proof of insurance” forms do not include a person’s address. However, a number of people keep their entire insurance envelope and the contents of their insurance company in the vehicle, whose address is indicated. I would say it’s best to keep mail and things with your home address out of your vehicle when you can. Minnesota does not require that you have a “vehicle registration card” in your vehicle.

These are all things to think about because no one is planning to have their vehicle stolen or something worse. Life is about planning ahead and being prepared. Most people have garage door openers hidden in the sun visor and house keys on the same key fob for your vehicle. Wallet in a cup holder or purse on the floor or seat next to you holding your driver’s license and other personal documents. If your vehicle has been stolen, do you have a plan to secure your garage and home in a timely manner? After the trauma and stress of stealing your vehicle, there will be a number of things that a person will forget that they have not made a plan for.

I would recommend contacting your local police or sheriff’s offices in advance for advice on what to do if you are involved in any of these situations. Have a plan and be prepared.


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