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How Long Should I Keep Insurance Papers?

As with all medical and financial paperwork, it is important to maintain accurate and complete records of your insurance documentation. Over the years, the amount of insurance paperwork you have accumulated may become quite large. In order to maintain organised and efficient records, it is important to know how long to keep different types of insurance paperwork.

Policy Paperwork

Throughout the life of your insurance policy, your insurance company will provide you with a wide variety of paperwork. At the start of your policy, you will likely receive a detailed booklet explaining the terms and conditions of your policy. Not only will this paperwork provide you with details of your insurance coverage, but it will also give instructions on filing insurance claims and any other actions that may be necessary. You will need to keep this paperwork for the entire life of the insurance policy. Any time there are changes in your policy, your insurance company will also send you paperwork detailing these changes. Again, keep these documents through the life of the policy. Once the policy has ended, you will want to keep your paperwork for an additional three to seven years. This extension will ensure your documents are available in the case of unfinished business with the company or insurance claims being submitted late.

Claim Documentation

You will need to fill out paperwork when filing an insurance claim, and you should always keep a copy of these claims. If your insurance company accidentally loses your claim or submits incorrect information, you will have a copy available immediately. Keep claim paperwork for at least the life of the policy, and preferably three years after. After a claim has been submitted, your insurance company will send you an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), which details the coverage provided for each individual claim. As with the policy paperwork, you will want to keep this insurance claim paperwork until at least three years after your policy has ended. If necessary, ask your insurance company how easy it would be to get copies of your EOBs in the future. If they offer this service readily and conveniently, you may be able to discard EOB paperwork once that specific medical charge has been paid in full.

Other Documents

In addition to these common types of insurance papers, your insurance company may also need to send you various pieces of documentation throughout the life of your policy. These documents might include announcements on changes for the insurance company, such as new executives or office location changes. Any paperwork that does not directly impact you or your policy can probably be discarded immediately. However, paperwork that might impact your policy should be kept with the rest of your insurance documentation. Keep only as long as you feel necessary. For example, announcements on office location changes need to be kept only until you become familiar with the change.