When a police officer pulls you over, they always ask for the standard trifecta of documents; license registration, and proof of insurance.

In ye olden days of yore, insurance companies used to mail you insurance cards you’d keep in your glove box, but they don’t do that anymore. Nowadays, everything is in an app on your phone.

My personal policy for any interaction with a police officer (even ones I initiate) is to keep my phone passcode locked (not merely fingerprint/face locked) at all times when an officer is present. However, my insurance app requires me to unlock my phone to show my “virtual” insurance card to the officer, which is not a thing that’s going to happen.

I have not been pulled over in many years, but if I ever am, how can I show this information without compromising my own device security?

  • 2
    Ah, maybe ask the insurance company for a printed card? Or print it out your self? Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 5:10
  • 2
    Is this a true scenario? Paper proof of insurance is not a thing of the past in my experience. Maybe the issue is your insurance provider, and the question should be addressed to them.
    – user662852
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 5:10
  • I’ve been asked every time I’ve ever been pulled over. The last time (5 or 6 years ago), all I had was an old expired one, which the officer accepted since everything else checked out and he wasn’t writing me a ticket. I only ask now because I recently bought a car and the dealership wanted to see it. And I’ve always been curious how this is supposed to work. Cops cannot compel you to unlock your phone.
    – Wes Sayeed
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 5:51
  • 1
    My insurance company mailed me a card a couple weeks ago which is now sitting in my glove box. So I have to dispute the premise that "they don't do that anymore." (I'm sure there are some companies that don't send the card in the mail, but making a broad statement about the entire industry seems questionable.)
    – David Z
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


If they can compel you to show your insurance paper and you don’t want to unlock your phone to do that, then you need to bring it in paper form or suffer whatever consequences there are for not showing them.

“Unlocking your phone” doesn’t mean you have to hand it over. Practice how to lock your phone quickly (iPhone: Press a specific button for four second), or just one press if you set up the phone for that. Unlock the phone away from the officer, locate the insurance paper, show it without leaving the phone out of your hand.

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