How Long Should I Keep Insurance Records?

Insurance policy documents such as cards and declaration pages should always be kept as long as their policies remain active. This is particularly crucial for auto and health policies as law enforcement or hospitals may request to see these documents for verification purposes.

Medical explanation of benefits (EOBs) should only be kept until they can be matched to a bill and any issues are resolved, after which time they should be discarded.

Occurrence-Based Policies

As much as you might wish to keep these policies forever, that may not be feasible or legal. But keeping these records will still prove that you had an occurrence-based policy by maintaining its declarations document; this part of a business insurance policy lists coverage limits, terms and conditions as well as contact details of insured.

Occurrence-based policies are used to cover events that don’t immediately lead to claims, such as general liability, commercial auto, workers’ compensation-type coverage such as Defense Base Act (DBA). An occurrence-based policy protects you if an incident that happens during your policy’s active period results in injuries or property damages to another individual; even though its full ramifications might take years for them to emerge.

Insurance policies with long-term projection costs tend to be more costly, due to insurers needing to account for future claim costs over a long period. But as your business builds its claims history over time, your premium will tend to decrease with time.

Another advantage of an occurrence-based policy is portability. When switching from an occurrence policy to claims-made coverage, your old coverage will be cancelled, making it impossible to file claims for past incidents without additional riders to extend claims window and tail coverage.

Attribution-based policies are easy to maintain as they’re permanent policies; this is especially helpful if you switch insurers frequently. Most insurers will give a copy of their occurrence-based policy when you join, which often suffices as evidence that coverage was present at the time of an incident. It would also serve as evidence that coverage existed at that point in time should cancellation occur in future; an experienced insurance attorney like Rabih Hamawi can assist in helping business owners determine what the best solution for their business may be; his practice specializes in representing policyholders in disputes with insurers as well as errors-and-omission cases against insurance agents.

Property Policies

If your practice owns or rents commercial property, chances are it has an insurance policy to protect against damage or loss to buildings, equipment, inventory and other business assets. These types of policies typically provide coverage against buildings, equipment, inventory and other business assets as well as “tail coverage,” which extends coverage beyond when your policy ends – thus experts advise keeping claims-made policy documentation for indefinite storage.

Property policies with expired policies can still provide value to your organization, so don’t rush to discard them immediately. As part of renewing your insurance, reviewing the policy regularly to make sure any updates reflect them is a worthwhile practice.

Hold on to any documents related to active contracts or cases for as long as those contracts or properties exist, including warranties, purchase information, service agreements, lease agreements and deeds.

Client Documents

Insurance agents keep an abundance of client documents for client accounts, such as policies, applications, and any related paperwork. As these records can prove vital for running an effective agency, it’s advisable that they are kept for at least as long as any claims against policies have been resolved or any related paperwork has been resolved.

However, many of these documents could prove invaluable to a potential new client, so be wary before sending them directly into the shredder. In most instances, it would be prudent to retain client records until any outstanding claims have been resolved or policies have expired.

Insurance agents should comply with the record retention guidelines set forth by Regulation 152 of the New York State Department of Financial Services. These regulations stipulate retaining any contract or policy form, endorsements and riders, applications or other material used in underwriting and rating the policy for six years following either its termination or an exam report filing (whichever comes first). This period differs from requirements laid out in 11 NYCRR SS 243.2 regarding individual policies themselves.

Employee Benefits Policies

Employee benefits policies play a big part of many people’s paychecks. Medical, dental and vision insurance coverage are common perks offered to employees along with retirement, life and disability benefits. Although keeping all the paperwork can be tedious and time consuming, having all records can come in handy should anything arise that needs coverage.

Some employee-related documents are required by law to be kept for an outlined amount of time, for instance EEOC regulations stipulate that hiring records be kept for at least a year post-hiring – this includes interview notes, resumes and drug test results as well as any seniority/merit systems you might use within your business. You should also keep any documentation regarding an employee’s termination within one year after leaving (unless state laws state otherwise).

Other documents require longer retention to remain useful to your organization. According to IRS guidelines, employee benefits-related records must be kept for at least three years to comply with statute of limitations – this may include Form 5500 filings, trust reports, audited financial statements or required notices.

Additionally, as per legal requirements, employers should keep employees’ payroll and personnel files for at least two years after their departure, regardless of why they left (such as performance or disciplinary issues). This ensures you have enough documentation available should any unemployment claims or lawsuits arise against them.

Though you may be able to dispose of certain employee-related documents after several years, workers’ compensation policies should always be kept on file indefinitely. It’s not unusual for workers exposed to hazardous working environments to develop symptoms years later; when this occurs, having proof that your company covered that claim can help show why the claim should be paid out is essential.

Though there may be guidelines that suggest how long specific records should be retained, the best way to decide what needs to be kept is based on your individual needs and contacting an attorney when creating a record-keeping policy for your business.

Auto Policies

Even though your auto insurer will likely keep a copy of your policy on file, keeping copies for yourself can be beneficial if you need to review coverage details or track claims. Furthermore, individuals and businesses may choose to deduct car insurance costs from taxes; keeping billing statements may prove useful should audits be conducted by Canada Revenue Agency.

How long you should keep auto insurance records depends on whether your policy is an occurrence- or claims-made policy. Occurrence-based policies offer coverage for events occurring throughout your policy term regardless of when they report their claim; for this type of coverage it is wise to keep all related paperwork until the claim has been fully settled – this includes policy documents, receipts for car repairs or medical treatment receipts as well as any related papers associated with an incident that could take several months to process fully.

Claims-made policies only cover losses that occurred while your policy was active, so it’s wise to keep all documentation related to a claim until its processing has been completed. This includes policy documents, receipts for repairs or medical treatment and any other documents submitted for processing by your insurer – this may take months or even years depending on its complexity.

Along with these essential documents, it’s a smart idea to retain copies of your auto insurance ID card, declarations page and monthly statements for an accurate representation of your auto insurance history. Your ID card acts as proof of insurance when needed by law enforcement in an accident situation and should be kept somewhere safe like your wallet, glove compartment or center console so it is readily accessible when necessary. Your declarations page provides a snapshot of coverage types, limits and exclusions for your policy – it should remain stored safely until its policy period ends, any open claims have been resolved or payment processing has completed successfully.