How to scan legal documents with your phone

Easy instructions to get docs from your hands to ours, with just a phone in between.

Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Published December 18, 2018

Many insurance companies have embraced the electronic signature, but some companies still require a wet signature — pen on paper instead of pixel on pixel.

While that means you may have to track down a printer (or wait for the mail) to get your documents, you can still submit your signed contract back to your broker via digital scan, using a scanner or an app on your phone.

The catch is that life insurance documents are legal contracts, and taking a grainy picture just won’t cut it. But your phone likely has the capability to take and send a scan of your paperwork. If not, we can recommend an app that will do it, too.

Read more:

How to sign your legal documents and prepare them to submit

Three things to check before you scan:

1. Make sure you’ve signed the documents

And don’t forget to date everywhere you need to, as well.

2. Date and initial errors

If you mess up and need to scratch something out, that’s okay — but you need to make sure you date and initial each error. If you don’t, your contract will be returned.

3. Lay it out

Find a flat, well-lit surface and smooth your documents out so that you can take the best scans of them. A table is good, the floor works — but heads up that a white counter may not work ( scanning apps need contrast between the paper and the background).

And remember: These are legal documents, so shadows, fingers, and cat paws (really) don’t belong in the scan.

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How to scan legal documents with Scanbot (free for iPhone or Android)

If you have a newer Android or iPhone, you probably have an app pre-installed on your phone that you can take scans with (see below). For the rest of us, there are plenty of free apps available to make scanning easier. You can use any of these apps, but one that we recommend is Scanbot, for its interface and ease of use.

  1. Download Scanbot. Link here: scanbot.io
  2. When you first open the app, it will ask you if you want to upgrade — no need! The free version works fine.
  3. Push the “+” to start a new scan. The app will focus and give directions (“move closer”) and then take a scan on its own, then take a few moments to adjust and load.
  4. Push the “Scan” button on the bottom left corner to scan more pages.
  5. Once you’ve scanned all the pages, click “Save” in the top right corner. It’ll take you back to the home screen.
  6. To send, click on the document on the home screen, then click “Send to” in the bottom right corner.
  7. When the window pops up, click “Share,” which will then let you select the app you use for email, and open a new email with the document attached.
  8. Sending to Policygenius? We’re at team@policygenius.com

How to scan legal documents with the Google Drive app (Android only)

If you’re an Android user, you likely already have the Google Drive app installed. Here’s how to use it to take scans:

  1. In the Google Drive app, click the “+” button at the bottom and choose “Scan.”
  2. Take a photo of the page. You’ll also have the option to crop the image; make sure that the entire page is still included, even the margins.
  3. Click “Add” to scan additional pages.
  4. To save the finished scans, click “Done.”
  5. Select the document and click the three dots in the top right to send.
  6. Sending to Policygenius? We’re at team@policygenius.com

How to scan legal documents with the Notes app (iPhone iOS 11+ only)

Newer iPhone models (iOS 11 and above) have scanning capabilities built into the Notes app. Here’s how it works:

  1. In the Notes app, create a new Note (pen icon).
  2. Press the “+” sign at the bottom and choose “Scan Document.”
  3. Hold your phone over the document until a yellow box forms over it. Make sure the entire document, including margins, is in the yellow box. In Auto mode, the app will scan automatically. In Manual, you’ll need to push the white camera button.
  4. Once you’ve scanned all documents, you can adjust the coloring (choose the option that looks clearest) and you’ll also have the option to crop the image (make sure that the entire page is still included, even the margins).
  5. Click, “Save.”
  6. To send, tap the “Share” icon in the top right corner and choose “Email,” which will open an email with each scan as a separate attachment.
  7. Sending to Policygenius? We’re at team@policygenius.com

Where to send your Policygenius documents

Just to repeat. You can send your life insurance policy documents to Policygenius the following ways:

  • Secure upload: Log into your account at Policygenius.com and upload the documents to your Policy Center.
  • Email: team@policygenius.com
  • Fax: 844-402-1028

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.