As is the case for tax documents, the retention period for banking and insurance documents is enshrined in French law. Codified by the commercial, civil, or monetary and financial codes, these durations must be respected to avoid any problem. The French administration also advises individuals to keep their documents in the form in which they were received: in paper format if they are sheets delivered by hand or sent by post, or in digital format if is a file sent by electronic mail (e-mail), downloaded online or stored in a digital safe.
How long should you keep your bank documents?
Sometimes accumulating in the wallets of individuals, bank card tickets must at least be kept “until receipt of the account statement showing the corresponding balance” according to the French administration. However, the site Les clefs de la banque, published by the French Banking Federation, adds that tickets collected at the distributor or after payment from merchants must be kept for five years from the date of the operation, with a period of thirteen months included. maximum to dispute a transaction. This period of five years, coupled with a contestation period of thirteen months, is also valid for account statements and other cash transactions (cash paymentby cheque, etc.), as well as for the various remittance slips.
You must also keep all the papers relating to current accounts, passbooks and savings plans (openings, power of attorney, etc.) for five years, from the date of their closure. The retention period is identical for documents relating to an inheritance (five years from the payment of all the heirs), to an opposition or seizure (five years after the event), and to a constitution of guarantee or a annual information on guarantees (five years from the full reimbursement of the closing of the account). On the other hand, mortgage and consumer credit contracts, as well as their supporting documents, can be kept for only two years from the last due date. Finally, you should know that an individual has one year and eight days to cash a check, and that if he does not do so within this period, he will have to request payment again (because his claim remains valid).
Retention periods for insurance documents
As with loan contracts, insurance contracts must be kept for two years from the end of the contract. This two-year period also applies to contribution receipts, notices of expiry, proof of payment, copies of letters requesting cancellation and their acknowledgments of receipt, as well as to all exchanges made with his insurer during of disasters.
The retention period is increased to ten years for all life insurance and death insurance, but also for all documents relating to bodily injury (for example invoices or medical reports relating to a road accident which caused physical damage to the insured). Finally, the automobile information statement, a document retracing the history of an automobile insurance contract (drivers, claims, etc.) and indicating the bonus-malus of the insured, must be kept permanently. It is transmitted by the insurer at the end of the contract (expiry or termination), but can also be requested by the insured at any time from his insurance company.
Why should banking and insurance documents be kept?
Keeping your banking and insurance documents is first and foremost a legal obligation to respect. In addition, doing this act can be useful to individuals in two cases. First of all, the kept document can serve as proof for its holder in the event that someone comes to claim something from him (for example a merchant who contacts an individual to ask him for a payment that he has already made). But it can also allow its owner to assert a right (for example if he wants to request a refund that is due to him).
These deadlines are the minimum periods allowing protection or the assertion of a certain right. It is therefore necessary to try to know them well, but it is possible that bank or insurance papers are still useful after these deadlines. This may, for example, be the case in legal problems for which the limitation period takes precedence over the retention period initially provided for by law. It can therefore also be recommended to keep your banking and insurance documents throughout your life.
(By the writing of the agency hREF)