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How long to keep car insurance records?

Team AckoAug 30, 2021

Keeping a record of your financial documents is a must and an excellent personal habit. Whether it is a digital or physical document, it is advisable to store private and financial documents where it is easily accessible. Even your car insurance document needs to be stored where you can access it at any time, especially when authorities ask you. 

If you have purchased car insurance from a digital insurer (such as ACKO), it is easy to log in to your account and access the policy document when required. But, how long do you need to keep car insurance records? Read on to find out.

How Long to Keep Car Insurance Records

How long should you keep car insurance documents?

How long you should keep your car insurance documents depends on how often you switch insurance companies or when you renew the plan. You can discard the old car insurance policy once you change to a new insurer or renew the policy. However, it is vital to keep the insurance document until a pending claim is settled.

With the advent of digital technology, the electronic insurance policy or the digital format of the insurance certificate can be produced when a competent authority asks you. A circular issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on May 29, 2015, authorises insurance companies to issue an electronic or digital insurance policy.

Digital-first insurers (such as ACKO) offer a soft or digital copy of the insurance certificate. You can access the document at any time via the website or mobile app. You can also find it in the inbox of your registered email address. The policy document is emailed to you as soon as you buy or renew the plan.

What documents should you keep, and for how long?

Traditionally, you had to store the physical policy document through a file or may have to keep it inside your car. That has changed with electronic documents. You can access your policy document on your internet-enabled smartphone through the website and mobile app. 

The government has approved the storage of your digital documents through the DigiLocker mobile app that allows you to access documents hassle-free almost from anywhere.

The most crucial document you need to keep is the insurance policy when it comes to car insurance. However, you need to retain any car insurance claims-related document until the claim is settled or till you have renewed your policy. 

Since you can access all car insurance-related documents online, ensure you keep official emails such as claims, renewal notifications, and approvals received from your insurer.

Here is a list of car insurance documents and how long to keep insurance policies.

Document Duration
Car insurance policy certificate From the policy inception date to expiry date (For claims related purposes, you may retain the expired policy document)
Claims related emails Until the claim is settled and you are paid as per the terms and conditions of the policy. You may retain claim-related paperwork for a few years just in case.
Payment receipt notifications For future reference
Renewal email notifications As per need
Communication emails from insurer As per need
First Information Report (FIR) In case FIR is registered for accident-related claims, you may retain a copy of it for future reference.
Non-Traceable Certificate (NTC) In case of vehicle theft claims, you may want to retain a copy of the NTC for future reference.

What is the need for a copy of car insurance?

A car insurance policy is an agreement between you and your insurer. For the premium you pay, the insurer provides financial support against third-party liabilities or damages to your vehicle from when the policy is issued until the policy expires. The car insurance policy outlines the coverage details, exclusions, and terms and conditions.

When you raise a claim, the insurer will refer to your policy and its terms and conditions and settle the claim accordingly. Knowing the coverage details will help you decide what type of claim you need to raise.

Additionally, the policy document contains policy clauses, and you may refer to them during claim settlements. Hence, it is vital to store or keep a car insurance policy to help you during claims.

When and how long should you keep expired insurance policies?

While an expired or a lapsed insurance policy is considered null and void, the only reason why you should retain your expired car insurance policy is when there is a pending claim.

  • You should only keep the car insurance policy document for as long as it is required.

  • Ongoing or pending claims may require you to keep the policy until the claim is settled.

  • Managing old insurance policies is not necessary.

Until claims related to damages to your vehicle or third-party liabilities are accounted for and settled, you need to retain the expired car insurance policy. Once all claim-related issues of your expired are resolved, you may want to store it as a digital document in your email or other storage devices for future reference.

What do car insurance companies look at in your car insurance document?

Car insurance companies look for details such as the history of claims and terms and conditions (inclusions and exclusions) during claim settlement. Also, insurers will check the summary of your vehicle report to determine how much to charge as a premium for your car insurance coverage.

When you apply for a new insurance policy with a new insurer, they will assess your risk by reviewing your previous claims to determine the premium amount. Since insurers protect you against financial losses, they will evaluate your profile before providing you a quote for insurance coverage.

What happens to your old car insurance policies when you switch to a new insurer?

For better coverage at a lower cost and better services, you may want to switch to a new insurer. But, with your car being insured with a new insurance company, you may want to discard the old car insurance policy. However, there are a few scenarios where you may need to retain the policy document.

  • When your car insurance is canceled before the expiry date, you may receive a refund (if applicable). Hence, you may want to retain the old policy until the refund is processed.

  • You may want to know exactly what is covered under your previous car insurance policy.

  • To purchase a new insurance plan, you may need to provide the required information (No Claim Bonus discount rate).

  • In case of a pending claim, you may want to retain the document until the claim is settled.

  • If another driver has a potential claim against you, you may want to keep the old car insurance plan for future reference.

Also, Read: Duplicate Car Insurance Copy Online

In a nutshell

You don’t have to hold on to old, null, void, or expired insurance policy documents until there is a real need for future reference. While retaining all your car insurance-related documents in your records is not realistic, you need to hold back on some of them based on the need. Car insurance documents can be discarded shortly after the policy has expired in most cases.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions about car insurance records.

Is it necessary to retain my old car insurance documents?

You may discard your old car insurance records since they are considered null and void. However, if you have a pending claim on your old policy, you may want to retain the document until the claim is settled. Also, if you have a potential claim against you, you may wish to retain the policy document.

How can I store my car insurance policy document?

At ACKO, you don’t have to worry about storing or accessing your policy document. You can visit our website or mobile app to gain access to your account. You can download or view all active insurance plans under your profile. You can also find the policy document in your registered email since we send the digital motor insurance policy as soon as you buy or renew the plan. Additionally, you can store the document through the government-approved DigiLocker mobile app.

Where does it mention that I have opted for Zero Depreciation cover in my car insurance policy?

You can find the information on your car insurance policy that includes details such as your name (policyholder), date of inception and expiry, type of insurance plan, and car insurance add-ons such as Zero Depreciation.

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