How Long Should You Keep Insurance Records?

You’ll want to keep your insurance records for as long as the policy is in effect or until your claims are resolved. Read more here!
Written by Brittni Brinn
Reviewed by R.E. Fulton
It’s recommended that you keep your
car insurance
records for as long as your policy is active. However, if you have an open claim, own a business, or are still paying off your premium, you will have to keep your documents for longer.
  • You can safely dispose of insurance records once you’ve switched policies or closed all outstanding claims.
  • Business owners may have to keep insurance records for several years for tax purposes.
  • Documents should be shredded before disposal in order to prevent identity theft.

How long should you keep car insurance records?

Most sources recommend keeping your auto insurance records until your
policy has been renewed
or switched over and all claims have been resolved. If your car insurance is for a business or a commercial vehicle, you will probably need to keep your paperwork for at least several years for tax purposes. But for most drivers, you’ll usually only need to keep your current car insurance documents.
Some documentation is more important to keep than others. Let’s take a look at the documents you should keep on file and which ones you can toss.

Documents that you need to keep

It’s impossible to keep every letter or notice from your insurance company. And thankfully, you’re not expected to! Unlike marriage licenses or death certificates, you don’t have to keep your insurance records indefinitely.
You should keep the physical copy of the most important documents for as long as your policy is in place. However, the American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends making a digital copy of important documents, even if you dispose of the original—this includes a record of your insurance policy and any claim history. And if you throw away a document by accident, you can usually request a new copy from your insurance agent.
Here are the insurance documents that you should keep and how long you should keep them!

Auto insurance card

auto insurance ID card
acts as your proof of insurance if you are pulled over or are involved in an accident. You should always keep your insurance card with you, either in your wallet or your glove box, in case you have to present it to the authorities. In most states, you can also show digital
proof of insurance on your phone
Once your policy is no longer valid, you won’t need this card. Your insurer will provide a new ID card when your new policy is in place or your current policy is renewed.

Declaration page

declaration page
is a more complicated version of your auto insurance card—it lists your coverage types and limits and outlines any exclusions on your policy. You can keep this document at home in a filing cabinet or secure drawer for reference. 
Once the policy is no longer valid and all open claims have been closed, you can dispose of this document.

Claims documents

These are any credit card receipts, repair expenses, medical bills, or paperwork related to a claim with your car insurance company. Keep all of these documents for reference for as long as your claim is active. Once payment has been issued and the claim has been closed, you don’t need to keep these documents.

Monthly statements

Your monthly statements are good to keep on file for as long as your policy is in place. Once all of the payments have been made or your policy is no longer active, you can start getting rid of your backlog of financial documents. 
However, if your statements reflect business or commercial spending, your accountant may recommend keeping these records for three to seven years for your income tax returns.
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Documents you don’t need to keep

Now that we’ve gone over the important insurance records you need to hold onto, let’s go over which documents can hit the shredder once you’ve read them!

Main policy document

Your main policy document goes into meticulous detail about your coverage including everything from your
to your policy limits. Even though this can be a useful reference, car insurance companies will usually give you access to a digital copy through your online account. So you don’t necessarily have to keep the physical copy—unless you prefer it!
As with most insurance documents, you can discard your main policy document once your policy is no longer valid.

Previous insurance cards

When you renew your insurance policy every six months to a year—depending on your insurance company—or switch to a new plan, you’ll receive new ID cards. Once you’ve got your new cards in hand, you can shred your old ones!

Canceled checks

Once you’ve paid your premium, you don’t need to keep any canceled checks associated with your policy. Like your bank statements or utility bills, you can shred these after a short time. 

Retention timelines: how long should you keep car insurance records?

Generally, it’s a good idea to keep insurance records as long as your policy is active. Depending on your situation, you may find it prudent to keep your insurance records for a little bit longer. 
For instance, if you are in the middle of a claim after an accident with your vehicle, you’ll want to keep all of the related documents on file, including medical and repair bills, until the claim is resolved. In some cases, claims can take years to reach a conclusion. But once the claim has been paid out and has officially been closed, you can dispose of your insurance records if the policy has expired.
Another special case is if you are insuring your car for use in a business. You’ll need to provide your insurance history and other tax records if you are audited by the IRS. It’s best to speak to your accountant about what documents you should keep, but you’ll generally need to keep tax-related documents on hand for three to seven years.
For all other cases, keeping your insurance records until your policy expires or your claims are all resolved is the best way to go. You can keep hard copies, but it may be wise to make digital copies to ensure your records are protected.
Once your insurance documents are no longer needed, make sure you dispose of them properly. Shredding your records is the best way to protect your personal data and prevent identity theft.
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The best way to dispose of your old insurance documents is with a shredder. Many office stores offer shredding services or you can buy a shredder for home use.
For a personal insurance policy, keep your monthly statements on hand as long as the policy is active—but for commercial insurance, it’s worth keeping these records for at least three to seven years. 
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