Pink auto insurance card goes digital for Ontario drivers

Drivers in Ontario now have the option of carrying an electronic version of their auto insurance. But as Richard Southern reports, there are some concerns about handing a cellphone over during a traffic stop.

By News Staff and The Canadian Press

The days of rummaging through the glove box in a panic could soon be over for drivers who’ve been pulled over by the police and asked to provide their insurance slips.

On Thursday, the Ontario government announced that effective immediately drivers will have the option of displaying proof of their insurance electronically in addition to the traditional paper pink card.

The change is part of the Putting Drivers First blueprint laid out in the 2019 budget.

“Our government has committed to making life easier for Ontario people,” Finance Minister Rod Phillips said in a release. “That is why this government is making auto insurance more convenient by giving drivers the option of showing their proof of auto insurance electronically, so that drivers can access their insurance card in the way that best suits their needs.”

Phillips said the option is already in place in three other Canadian provinces.

There will be a one-year phase-in period, when insurers will have to issue a paper card in addition to the electronic option if it is requested.

Once the one-year period is over, drivers who forgo the slip altogether in favour of the electronic version will have to assure they can properly display their proof of insurance. That means a poor signal, drained battery or shattered smartphone screen won’t be a valid excuse.

Phillips said the electronic cards will feature safeguards that won’t allow them to be altered or edited, and privacy concerns are top of mind.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said consumers have digital options in other sectors such as banking and retail, so auto insurers are pleased their customers will have the same choice.

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