One of the more common questions that are asked of insurance professionals is in regard to record retention of customer documents.
So many customers will say that they have insurance policies, bills for the premium they have paid, and so on going back 10 years or more.
The question that is often asked is around whether or not this is truly necessary?
Just how much paperwork and what documents do you have to keep and for the stuff that is being kept, how long should you be keeping it for?
Record retention is something that every single company struggles with, just as individuals do on their own.
Companies, though, have the luxury of coming up with standardized record retention schedules and will just purge stuff when it reaches an expiration date.
As a consumer, it is much more of a manual process and it is about having an awareness of the documentation that you still have and what you truly need.
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What You Need to Keep
The only thing that you really need to keep when it comes to car insurance documents is that of your most current insurance policy.
You really do not even need to have the full policy on-hand as well as you have a copy of what is known as the declarations page of the policy. The policy’s declaration page is the page where you have all of your coverage summary on-hand.
When you need to know what you have for car insurance coverage, all you have to do is refer to that current declarations page and you will get your answer.
The current declarations page is where you are going to see:
- Your policy number
- The named insured on the policy
- The cars that are covered
- The limits that you have
- Deductibles, etc.
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Where Insurance Companies Come Into Play
Insurance companies are on the hook for making sure that they have electronic copies of your full insurance policy.
They are not only going to have your current car insurance policy, but they are going to have electronic copies of your policies that are going to likely go back for years.
When you get to the point where your policy period has ended, where you are past the expiration date, it is then perfectly fine to go ahead and throw away that old policy as it has likely been renewed and replaced with a new one.
Use the Shredder
You always want to take advantage of the shredder when getting rid of insurance documentation such as this.
The shredder is going to ensure that your private information is kept that way so that it does not get into the wrong hands and potentially taken advantage of.
Once your old policy is ready to be rid of, throw it in the shredder and away it goes.
The one caveat to all of this is whether or not you have a pending or an ongoing claim that is being worked as part of the policy you are thinking of throwing away.
If you have a pending claim, or an existing one, be sure that you have that insurance policy paperwork on-hand, even if it has expired, as you may have to reference it as you are going through the claims process.
Knowing when you can purge any old documentation is very important as a consumer. You do not want to have to keep papers upon papers for years over time.
The quicker that you can get rid of this stuff, the more organized you are going to be. Only retain your insurance documents for as long as necessary before replacing them with your renewed policies.
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