You can use your smartphone to lock your home’s doors or set the alarm, make purchases, and even monitor your health. But for Canadians, the option to use a smartphone to show proof of auto insurance coverage has been restricted. This has changed for Nova Scotians, thanks to the Electronic Commerce Act.
Effective January 2018, drivers of motor vehicles in Nova Scotia are able to show electronic proof of auto insurance (EPAI) to law enforcement officers during a traffic stop. A bulletin released by the Finance and Treasury Board, made the Act official, allowing for these documents to be transmitted in the electronic format.
This initiative marks a major milestone in the insurance industry, adding innovation and convenience to the process. Nova Scotia is the first province to legalize use of the electronic pink slips. Under the new rules, drivers can show proof of insurance with any digital device, including a smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, they may also show a paper copy. However, Nova Scotian’s travelling outside of the province may still be required to produce a paper-based insurance card.
What is an electronic proof of insurance?
An electronic proof of insurance is a digitized file that provides confirmation that the vehicle referenced has the minimum amount of insurance required by the government. It is simply the liability card, or pink slip, in a digital format.
Companies issue new pink slips when you renew your insurance, or make a change to your policy. While the policy number may remain the same, it is important to keep the most up-to-date slip in your vehicle. You are required by law to do so, and an inability to provide this proof could result in a ticket.
Several insurance companies have made the electronic proof of insurance card available either through a customer portal or app, or can send it to their customers via email.
Are other provinces moving to legalize electronic proof of coverage?
Ontario is the only other province, aside from Nova Scotia that has made immediate plans to move ahead with electronic proof of insurance. According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), Ontario’s 2017 budget included plans to allow the use of electronic proof of insurance cards. The plan also included a requirement for insurance companies to provide discounts to customers who opt to receive the electronic version. However there has been no official date set for the launch of this program.
The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCRI), a national association of insurance regulators, issued a release in February, recommending that more provinces take a more modern approach to the proof of insurance cards. Their advocacy is based on stakeholder consultation, and its May 2016 Electronic Proof of Automobile insurance Project Issues Paper, that revealed that the digital version would be more convenient to both consumers and industry members.
What are the benefits of the electronic proof of coverage?
As more people rely on their smartphones for everyday activities, electronic insurance cards provide a more convenient and accessible option for drivers.
- It reduces the amount of paper that persons need to keep in their glove compartments.
- It may lead to less being ticketed for having an out of date card.
- It can help to reduce the risk of identity theft, with persons no longer having a need to leave such an important personal document in their vehicles.
How can A.P. Reid Customers Access an Electronic Proof of Auto Coverage?
A.P. Reid Insurance customers can access an electronic proof of auto coverage through our newly launched Client Access Centre. In addition to this feature, clients can also:
- View detailed policy information
- Request policy changes online
- Review and download account documents
- Report claims online with the option to upload pictures and related claims documentation
- Receive documented confirmation of all activity conducted online
Customers can also access the information by downloading the A.P. Reid Insurance app through the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
While electronic slips can be accessed through the Client Access Centre, or through the app, it is recommended that customers either keep a printed version or take a screenshot of their card and save it in their phone as a photo, in the event they are in a situation where there is no data reception.