March 8, 2023
Just because your business insurance policy has been renewed and the old one is no longer valid, it doesn’t mean your business should throw out those old documents. In fact, even if the documents are several years old and you’re no longer insured by the same provider, it’s important that you continue to hold on to that paperwork.
Below, we’ll answer some key questions about insurance documents, including how long to keep business insurance policies, the risks involved with not keeping them, and what you can do if yours are lost or destroyed.
You should keep a copy of your business insurance paperwork for seven years after the end of the policy. You should also keep digital copies of your paperwork for an additional three years on top of this.
If you’ve ever made a claim on your business insurance, you should also retain any paperwork related to your claim for seven years. However, claims related to employers’ liability insurance, public liability insurance and subsidence insurance should be kept for ten years.
The biggest benefit of keeping historic business insurance documents is that you have them on file should you need to refer back to them. This can help with your business’s administrative tasks and help with any future planning.
According to Section 5 of the Limitation Act of 1980, following a legal issue, there is a deadline of six years for action to be taken. So, in the event that this happens and a claim is made against your business, you will need these documents to refer to.
However, by far the most important reason for keeping any documents related to your business’s finances is to ensure you don’t face fines from HMRC. You can face fines of up to £3,000 or be disqualified from being a company director if you’re unable to provide the relevant documents when asked.
It’s important to note that this only relates to business insurance documents. You don’t need to hold on to your personal insurance documents, and you can destroy these once they’re no longer valid.
If your business insurance documents over the past seven years have been lost, stolen or destroyed, then it’s important to do what you can to replace them. Because you should always keep digital copies of these records, paper copies should be easily replaced. Digital documents, or printouts of these documents, should be enough should HMRC ever request them.
You may also want to alert HMRC that these documents have been lost. Alerting them means you’ve done everything in your power to stay on top of the situation should they request to see your documents in the future.
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