Can I throw out old certificates of insurance?

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Dear Insurance Adviser,
Is there a reason to keep expired certificates of insurance? Or can I toss them out and hold on to just the current one?
— Debbie

Dear Debbie,
By “certificates of insurance,” I assume you mean the policy coverage summary pages that come with property and liability insurance, such as automobile, homeowners and umbrella policies. The answer to your question is yes, you can safely toss the expired pages, keeping just the current set.

Every time you make a policy change or every time the policy renews, you get a new updated set of summary pages. Your insurance agent and your insurance company keep several years of coverage information on their computers for each of their policyholders. You can access that information anytime you need it.

The one exception when I recommend that you do keep the expired summary pages is if the policy in question covers an open, pending claim. Then, keep those pages until the claim is fully closed.

Note that a complete policy includes the summary pages and the policy contract. Be careful not to dispose of the contract booklet when you purge the summary pages.

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