Ask A Trooper

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: Hello, I watched a news report which involved a carjacking in St. Paul, MN.  I live in MN.  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, MN 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: Hello and thank you for the question. Every driver must keep in their possession proof of insurance while driving. They also must produce that proof of insurance to an officer when requested during a traffic stop or an incident on the road such as a crash.  

Proof of insurance can be in an electronic form, meaning text-based or imaged-based content in a form that can be shown on a computer or other digital devices.  

So yes, a photograph of the actual insurance card or screen shot of the format is sufficient. The information that is required for proof of insurance is:

(1) the insured’s name;

(2) the policy number;

(3) the policy dates of coverage;

(4) the make, model, and year of the vehicle being covered;

(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” paper forms do not have the person’s address listed on it. However, a number of people keep their entire insurance envelope and contents from their insurance company in the vehicle, which has their address listed. I would say, it’s best to keep mail and things with your personal address out of your vehicle when you can. Minnesota does not require you to have a “vehicle registration card” in your vehicle. 

These are all things to think about as nobody plans on having their vehicle stolen or something worse. 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 for your vehicle. Wallet in a cup holder or the purse on the floor or seat next to you holding 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 will be a number of things that a person will forget and have not made a plan for.

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

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205.  (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,