Insurance Questions: Keeping insurance records

Editor’s note: Insurance Questions answers questions about insurance coverage for equipment rental businesses. Email your insurance questions to Answers are provided by ARA Insurance, Kansas City, Mo. For more information, call
800-821-6580 or visit

Q: There are two problems with documentation: You don’t need it until you need it and you can’t find it when you need it. Whether you have paper or electronic files, you need procedures for handling your records and keeping them up to date. When it comes to insurance documents, what do you need to keep and why?

A. ARA Insurance recommends keeping a copy of all insurance policies for at least seven years after their expiration to ensure you have them throughout the statute of limitations for legal action. You also want a file for accident claim forms and current coverage information at your fingertips in case you need to report a claim. Include in this file a current list of vehicles, drivers, inventory and other assets. Photos or video of assets can be helpful in proving ownership and value.

At each insurance policy renewal you should update this file with the most recent information and forms. Also, set up a claim file for each and every accident even if you think you are not responsible or that nothing will ever come of it. Years later, when a lawsuit is filed, you will be
glad you have information such as accident reports, witness names and photos. Again, keep this information for seven years after the occurrence or the claim settles.