We are building your filing system by dividing paperwork into broader categories. Our goal is still a filing system that allows you to find things and file things easily. Each of the major categories will have its own set of subcategories. Remember that this system is for file storage so don’t file documents if you need to take action on them or if you’re waiting for more information. These items go in your Action Items folder or your Working & Waiting folder.
You should already have your file box/crate and hanging folders full of documents to divide into subcategories.
· Banking & Investments
By now you’ve accumulated enough in a hanging file folder to merit greater division, even though you may still have lots of 6–8-inch stacks to sort through. We’ve tackled Money, Medical, and Auto – now let’s create a working Insurance category with subfolders.
You will need a folder for every type of insurance and/or provider for which you have documents: Auto, Medical, Life, Travel, Disability, Renters, etc. For a great summary of types of insurance read 9 Types of Insurance You Need to Consider | Millennial Money. If you’ve got a paper sorter, stapler, paper clips, and binder clips – gather them.
Each insurance provider has sent a paper or electronic document marking the start date of your coverage. Dividing your documents by provider is a good first step. I recommend dividing into hanging folders instead of file folders and use a sticky note to create temporary tabs.
Create a file folder for your originating policy documents. If you’ve had a policy with ABC Insurance for many years, locating that document will be harder because of the volume of mail you’ve received over the years. That’s okay. Label an empty folder. If you have electronic access to insurance documents, note your username and password on the folder. Keep ONE current privacy document and ONE current appeal process document with the origination files.
For each insurance provider separate the documents for each policy. If your provider bundles the statements (like home and auto) then keep the bundle together. Next, for each policy divide the billing statements from the other documents. Keep the current year billing statements and destroy the rest. Throw away privacy statements, appeal process statements, advertisements, envelopes, etc. If this seems to risky, contact your agent for further clarification of what needs to be saved and what can be discarded.
The documents that remain will detail changes to the policy over the months and years. Find the current year documents and staple together multiple page sets. File them with billing statements. If you still haven’t found the originating documents, save the oldest set of policy documents in the origination folder. You can safely dispose of the rest of the policy change documents. Protect your privacy and shred those documents that identify you or your account number. Generic (everyone got it) documents can be tossed in the recycle bin.
Next time we will tackle Banking and Investment documents.