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Personal Risk Management — Maintaining Important Documents

maintaining important documents

This article is provided by CIMA, the business administrator for the VIS Volunteers Insurance program. CIMA is a full-service property/casualty insurance and employee benefits broker, licensed in every state. CIMA can provide general liability, professional liability, property insurance, directors and officers liability, commercial auto, and other kinds of insurance coverage nonprofit organizations need. There is more information at

Keeping important documents organized and accessible will save you time and hassle when you need those documents. As a good rule of thumb, if the document is difficult to replace or is from the government, then it’s likely more important to keep it safe and secure for longer periods of time – even forever.

Consider these maintenance guidelines for important personal documents:

  • Keep utility bills, credit and debit card receipts, ATM receipts, and banking deposit or withdrawal receipts for one month.
  • Keep pay stubs, checkbook ledgers and deductions for tax purposes for one year.
  • Keep bank statements, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, tuition payments, medical bills or claims, and unemployment income stubs for seven years.

If you are storing documents at home, consider protecting them in a fireproof safe. For an added layer of security, choose one with a locking mechanism to avoid losing documents during a burglary. With today’s technology, it is also possible to scan documents to have a digital backup. When it is time to dispose of documents, it is important to use a paper shredder to destroy physical copies and to safely delete digital copies to protect against potential identity theft.

About VIS

Volunteers Insurance Service Association, Inc. (VIS) was established in 1972 for the purpose of providing insurance and risk management services for volunteer-based organizations. In addition to still providing these insurance services today on a nationwide scale, we have expanded to provide noninsurance resources for members to manage their risks and improve their operations. By transferring the volunteer risk exposure to our program, we can help you protect your organization. Contact us today at (800) 222-8920 for more information on our programs and services. Join now!