From: Sgt. Troy Christianson, 

Minnesota State Patrol

 

Question: I watched a news report which involved a carjacking in St. Paul, Minn. I live in Minnesota. The carjacker was apprehended when they attempted to burglarize the victim’s home using the address found on insurance paperwork located in the victim’s car.  

I am writing to find out if I could take a picture (using my phone) of my insurance paperwork and registration to show proof of insurance and registration? The police officer from Wyoming, Minn., suggested doing this.

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

Answer: Every driver is required to carry proof of insurance while driving. They must also produce proof of insurance on officer’s request during a traffic stop or an incident such as a crash.  

Proof of insurance can be in electronic form, meaning text-based or imaged-based content that can be shown on a computer or other digital device. So, yes, a photograph of the actual insurance card or screen shot is sufficient.

Information required for proof of insurance:

1. The insured’s name;

2. The policy number;

3. The policy dates of coverage;

4. The make, model, and year of the vehicle insured;

5. The vehicle identification number or at least the last three digits of that number; and,

6. The name of the obligor providing coverage.

Most “proof of insurance” cards do not have the home address listed. However, many drivers keep the insurance envelope from their insurance company in the vehicle, which contains their address. I would recommend storing documents that contain personal information out of your vehicle when you can. Minnesota does not require you to have a “vehicle registration card” in your vehicle. 

Life is about planning ahead and being prepared. Most folks have garage door openers tucked in the sun visor and house keys on the same key chain as their vehicle. Is your wallet in a cup holder or purse on the floor or seat next to you containing your driver’s license and other personal documents? If your vehicle was stolen, do you have a plan for securing your garage and home in a timely manner? After the trauma and stress of having your vehicle stolen, there might be a number of things that might be overlooked.

I would recommend getting in touch with your local police department or sheriff’s office for advice on what to do if you become involved in one of these situations. Have a plan and be prepared.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention, and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848, or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.