How long should you keep your auto insurance records

It is important to know how long to keep your auto insurance records and whether it is acceptable to dispose of your policy documents during the life of the insurance policy. In some cases, you can throw away documents quickly, but need to keep the other documents for a while. However, it is easy to determine which one.

Documents you need to keep

To know how long to keep auto insurance statements and how long to keep insurance policies, you need to determine why you might need them in the future. There are a number of documents that you will receive as part of your policy that should be kept:

  • Your automobile insurance card. This easily fits in a wallet or glove box and should be kept with you. You can also have access to a digital insurance card through your auto insurance company, although it is best to have a hard copy as a backup if you forget your cell phone. In some states, you are required by law to have it in your car. If the police stop you, they will ask for it. You will also need it in the event of an accident since it contains your policy number and other information that you will need to exchange with the other driver.
  • The declarations page of your policies. You will receive this page along with your other policy documents when setting up a new insurance policy or renewing it. It contains your name and address, your policy number and, most importantly, a summary of your policy coverage. Keep it in a safe place until you receive a new one when you renew your policy.
  • Documents relating to a complaint. If you have an open claim with your company, keep all receipts, repair invoices, and any other documents relating to the claim. These documents can be disposed of once you have received a check and the claim is officially closed.
  • Your monthly billing statement. It may be a good idea to keep a record of your tax billing statements if your insurance is business-related (if you use your car for business purposes, for example, or if you have a home office.) you are audited, you may need to show your invoices for the past seven years.
  • Your premium. This information isn’t actually a document – it’s on your billing statement – but it’s worth tracking long term. Staying on top of your rates over the years gives you a clear idea of ​​how often your rates change, which may make you think about switching companies if your rates are high. If you look at the average cost you paid in 2019 versus what you pay now, you can clearly see if you are paying too much or getting a good deal.

Documents you don’t need to keep

Determining how long to keep insurance records also involves knowing what to throw away and when. Here are some things you don’t have to keep indefinitely:

  • Your main policy document. This is the multi-page document that includes all the details about your policy limits, discounts, coverage, endorsements and more. A lot of people keep these pages until they renew their policy – and that’s fine. But that’s not really necessary since most insurers offer digital access to these documents through your account on the company’s website. If your insurer does not have this feature, keep it until you receive a new one in the mail when you renew. Once your policy has expired and you no longer pay it, you can also delete these documents.
  • Canceled checks for premiums paid. Many banks no longer return your canceled checks. If so, you can shred the checks after you reconcile them to your account.

How long to keep insurance records

We looked at how long insurance records are kept and found that some of the larger ones, like your actual policy documents, don’t need to be kept for more than a year. Once you have the new policy in hand, the old one can usually be abandoned if you haven’t had a claim during the life of your policy. Any policy records that you no longer own can also be deleted. For example, if you still have documents for a car that you no longer have, you are unlikely to need to keep those documents. The same goes for any policy that is no longer active.

You will typically receive a new set of policy documents annually, or in some cases, semi-annually. Once you receive them, the old ones are no longer needed. It should be common practice for you to file the new copies at the same time as you remove and discard the old ones.

If for some reason you accidentally get rid of current police documents, don’t worry. Your insurer will have copies of all documents on file and you may be able to access them online. A quick call to your agent should be enough to get a new copy to replace the discarded one.

There is, however, one important exception to these rules. If you have an open claim related to an accident or auto accident, or if there is a possibility that a claim may be made against you by another driver, keep all insurance documents and everything related to the accident. accident, such as repair bills or towing costs until the claim is settled.

Complaints can take years to resolve. For example, if you are in an accident involving medical bills, it may take several years to settle all of the medical bills and bills. In the meantime, you may have sold the car and closed the account. Keep your policy documents until you are sure there will be no further charges applied to the claim.

How to properly dispose of old insurance policies

Shred all old insurance policy documents, especially if they have your name, policy number, or other identifying information on them. A small household shredder is sufficient for this job. Some office stores offer shredding services, and local banks or businesses regularly offer free shredding days to residents of many areas.

Identity theft is a real fear for many people, and rightly so. Your police documents can contain names and addresses, police numbers, even passwords, and an enterprising thief can use them for personal gain if they are found in the garbage or in a landfill. In general, you should always shred anything that has your name or identifying details on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best auto insurance company?

While there isn’t one “best” auto insurance company that works for everyone, we’ve rounded up the companies that offer the best prices, the most comprehensive coverage options, and superior customer service. on our list of the Best Auto Insurance Companies for 2021. A good place to start your auto insurance research would be to get quotes from these companies.

Can I throw away old insurance policies?

When you get your new policy in the mail with each renewal, you can throw away the old one. However, keep the billing statements and returns page, and keep your insurance card with you when driving. You can shred the policy documents if you close the policy unless there is an open claim or the possibility of an open claim on the policy.

How should I store documents that need to be backed up?

There are several options here. If you need to store hard copies, a small portable, fire-resistant lock box is a great idea. Do not store it in your basement, in case your house is flooded. You can also consider offsite electronic storage in the cloud or on a USB drive or other storage device. For a small fee, sites like Dropbox and iCloud will store your electronic documents securely and be accessible wherever you are or what device you use.

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