Electronic Car Insurance Certificates

Electronic certificates sometimes rejected, says AA Insurance

AA Insurance is finding that electronic insurance certificates, which have been legal since 30 April 2010, are not being accepted by motor dealers and sometimes even by Post Office staff.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says the insurance certificate is today little more than confirmation that a vehicle is registered on the national Motor Insurance Database (MID), and the occasions when it needs to be shown are becoming rare.

"In most cases a certificate never needs to be produced. Tax discs can be applied for online, and the system automatically interrogates databases to check that your insurance and MOT are up-to-date," states Douglas.

"But we do recognise that not everyone has access to a computer, and others prefer not to undertake financial transactions online. And while they may want to receive their certificate electronically, they would still prefer to get their tax disc from a Post Office."

He advises printing the certificate on good quality paper, and setting the printer to its best standard too. "We have had one or two reports that a home-printed certificate has not been accepted at a Post Office counter. This is rare, but the answer is to make sure you don't compromise on quality when you print it and you can avoid the risk of that happening."

More worrying, according to Simon, is that many customers are reporting that garage staff have refused to accept a home-printed certificate, insisting on an original being supplied from the insurer. However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which had not issued specific guidance to motor retailers, is now doing so following the AA Insurance experience.

"Being prevented from driving away in your brand new car, just because the salesman won't accept a legal document, is extremely frustrating," Douglas points out. "The SMMT's intervention to make the motor trade aware that electronic certificates are legal is very welcome."

Simon added that customers are welcome to request a printed certificate by post.

AA electronic car insurance certificates

AA customers are now being invited to accept all their insurance documents online – although they can continue to receive them by post if they prefer. To print a certificate, a customer must open a secure password-protected website from where they can access the same high-definition PDF of their insurance certificate that is used by the AA to print a postal certificate.

The AA advises customers to set their printer to the highest quality possible and to use a good-quality white paper. This should avoid any concerns that car sales staff or others might have about the validity of the document.