Cop: "License and insurance card." WTF?

I had a headlight out back in January. I bought a new one from the auto parts store on the way home, but it was so cold I couldn’t be bothered to change it. Next night, I was stopped by a city policeman. He said “license and insurance card.” Nope, didn’t want to see my registration. I thought that odd. Never had that asked for before. Fortunately for me, I had the new light in the car and explained that it was too cold for me to change it. He let me go.

Two days ago, my age 25 son got stopped for “high beams” in the same town. At 5:45 AM. I think the cop was just bored and needed some work. He asked my kid for “license and proof of insurance.” No mention of registration.

This was Akron, Ohio.

Is this something new? Is it a local thing? Is this happening anywhere else in the US. Not that I think it’s a bad thing. Og knows there are too many uninsured motorists.

For as long as I’ve been driving in Texas (about 20 years) it has been license and proof of insurance. Sad to say - I got to hear it again last month so I can confirm it’s still in use here.

That’s been the norm here for several years. You must not get stopped too often. Even if you’re insured, our cops can write you a ticket for not having the proof in your vehicle.

They now have laptop computers in their patrol cars, so often they can look up your tag and find out if you’re insured or not.

As someone who works for an insurance company’s inbound call center, I can tell you it’s a common request. I surmise it’s a fundraiser for the city. Even if your vehicle is insured, you can still get ticketed if you don’t have the proof with you and if the insurance company can’t verify your coverage. Especially if it’s after hours. Our policy verification department is only open from 7a-7p M-F. During those times we can verify a policy to a cop even if you don’t have your card (based on your name or the company you work for, if it’s a commercial policy). But outside those times, we can’t. No proof, you get ticketed.

I’m not sure that’s true, but the reason they probably don’t ask for your proof of registration is because its already on your license plate in the form of a little registration sticker that’s color coded to the year. So they can either look at or run your plate and know if it’s properly registered and to whom, and if the registration info matches your license info, they don’t need anymore on that.

They ask for proof of insurance because without it they likely don’t know if you are insured or not until they see valid proof. I don’t think they can get that info off of your plate.

You’re correct. I don’t get stopped often.

So, looking like it’s not unusual. I’m just getting old. :slight_smile:

It was my understanding that if no insurance proof could be presented to officer, a person would be issued ticket, but would also be allowed brief period of time (like a week or ten days or something like that) to present proof to the court. And if subject could do that, ticket would be waived. (This actually happened to a friend of mine while I was a passenger in the car.)

Has the law been changed? Or was my friend given extra leniency? - by allowing them grace period to present proof of insurance to court - even though they failed to do so during traffic stop? (I am in MI, btw)

Traffic laws are state laws. It would vary based on that, of course. I currently live in Illinois. The only time I’ve ever been stopped here (for going 42 in a 30, and I received a speeding ticket), I was not asked for proof of insurance. Just license/registration.

I was stopped once in Indiana (while a resident of Indiana) about 5 years ago because a headlight was out and I was unaware of it. I didn’t receive a ticket and I was not asked for proof of insurance at that time, either.

I don’t know the specific laws on carrying proof of insurance in every state. Not a lawyer, etc. I do know that Michigan is one of the few no-fault insurance states left, and has a very rare clause that medical bills from catastrophic auto claims must be paid for life. So they might be weird/different in other areas of the law, too.

It is. I know people who have been pulled over for not having insurance. Not arrested or ticketed (I mean, yeah, they were), but pulled over for that reason.

Anyway, when I was pulled over in Baton Rouge Louisiana the cop didn’t ask for my registration or insurance. Just my license. But when I’ve been pulled over in Phoenix I’ve been asked for insurance and license every time. Never been asked for registration anywhere.

Well, if they already know that you are insured by running your plate, then why ask for it it in the first place? Its the same reason they don’t ask for proof of registration anymore. Your license plate already provides them that information too.

Good question. Maybe people are required by law to carry proof of insurance and they’re hoping to nail someone. I don’t know for sure.

Every time I’ve been stopped for the past 30 years , I’ve been asked for the license, insurance card and registration. Definitely depends upon the state.

In Missouri it’s called “financial responsibility.” You have to show proof of insurance both when you get your license plates and when you’re stopped. The reason for this is because too many drivers were buying insurance to get their plates, then canceling their policies.

I’ve never been asked for registration in Ohio except by military police. Seems redundant with a computer system and an individually numbered tag that matches up to the license number.

I was just in an accident last week. The cops asked for my license, proof of insurance, and registration card. I had misplaced my registration card and the cop looked it up on his laptop computer. He wouldn’t go just by the license plate. He had to confirm it. I know he had to run it through a few times, because there was some ambiguity about whether one of the characters was a zero or an O.

Hubby works for the City, and he’s in charge of vehicle maintenance for all city vehicles, including the cop cars. The cops say it’s so.

Besides, rachel just posted that her office provides that service.

cashew: yes, you can get the ticket waived if you present proof within a certain timeframe (here, anyway).

Thanks Rachel and NinetyWt.

This reminds me of a joke for when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

Arkansas Trooper pulls a woman over… “Ma’am. Would you please step out of the vehicle, and put your hands on the governor”

I asked a cop about this years ago when I was pulled over. He said that it’s a matter of efficiency, you have to have insurance to get the car registered so they kill two birds with that one stone. It’s a way to get three pieces of information by only asking for two.

Nice guy, no ticket :slight_smile:

They ask for proof of insurance to be sure you have it with you. If you are in an accident you are required to show your proof of insurance to the other driver.

Where I live the line goes, " License and Registration".