If you are purchasing or selling a home, a mortgage broker may suggest that you get a CLUE. That's not an insult; rather, it's a reference to a report from the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, otherwise known as CLUE.
What is the CLUE Insurance Report?
The CLUE report is in essence a comprehensive insurance claims history over the past seven years that includes information on when money is paid out on a claim, when claims are denied, and when files are created for future possible claims. Insurance companies pool their personal property claims histories into a collective database, and a CLUE report allows certain parties to pull a report to show collective insurance activity that crosses multiple insurers. Reports can focus on the history of individuals or on specific properties — homes or automobiles.
Within real estate, CLUE reports can be used to check the history of a property and make sure that there are no undisclosed insurance claims or unusual patterns that would affect the purchase. Homeowners can request one free copy of a CLUE report in much the same way that they are entitled to one free annual credit report, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips. A CLUE report can provide extra confidence to a potential buyer that the property is sound.
Even if you are not in the real estate market right now, you could potentially benefit from a copy of your CLUE report. Insurance companies pull a CLUE report when you ask for a quote or apply for coverage. Your insurance history and pattern of claims will factor into the insurance company's decision on how much your premiums will be, or whether you will be offered coverage at all. Incorrect or misleading information on the CLUE report can cost you money at best and lead to denied coverage at worst.
The report will contain your name and date of birth as verification. If you have a common name or changed it through marriage or other means, look over the report very closely as it is easy for information to be misapplied to accounts with similar common names.
All insurance activity during the seven-year period will be summarized by the CLUE report including policy number, the date and type of loss on a claim, the amount paid on the claim, and descriptions of the property in question. Descriptions include the basic information (address for homes or vehicle information for automobiles), as well as the nature of the damage or loss.
What happens if you find a mistake on your CLUE report? You can get it corrected through LexisNexis, the supplier of these reports. Start by calling the LexisNexis Consumer Center at 888-497-0011. They will go to the reporting insurance company in question and attempt to verify the information. You will be notified of the results within thirty days.
If you don't like the answer you receive from LexisNexis, you will have to engage the insurance company directly to straighten out the claim. At the very least, you will be able to add a comment to the report item that explains your perspective. That comment will show on all future reports. Insurance companies will have to draw their own conclusion.
Since you can get one without charge every year, we suggest you get a CLUE.