A common saying states ‘Knowledge is power.’ Have you ever wondered what kinds of information others may have about you and would you be interested to find out what they know?
You may not have considered how much insurers know about you, your home, or car, but the insurance industry holds quite a bit of information that can significantly affect your insurance costs, especially if it’s either incorrect or incomplete. The bottom line is that while insurance companies may have ‘secret’ records on you, just because you haven’t known about it, doesn’t mean it has to remain a ‘secret.’ And believe it or not, you can not only get a copy, but it’s also free! Curious? Find out more in this interesting article and podcast!
Here’s a CLUE
There’s a national insurance industry database compiled on many of us known as a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report, commonly called a CLUE report. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t be surprised. And as you’ll soon see, CLUE covers more than just your home.
CLUE Follows People, Homes & Cars
CLUE reports contain a snapshot of information about you, your home and car, including a list of recent claims you’ve made.
There are actually two CLUE reports likely to have your name on them, one for property loss pertaining to your house and a different one for auto losses. This helps insurance companies to be aware of what kinds of prior insurance claims and payouts that have been made and helps them to prevent and detect potentially fraudulent behavior.
The ‘Creep Factor’
If the thought of an insurance industry database keeping tabs on you seems creepy, that’s understandable. But consider that insurance companies must deal with fraudulent claims by what are often some pretty convincing crooks. Unless the bad guys are stopped, we all pay more in insurance premiums.
CLUE Helps When Buying Insurance
One use of CLUE is for when customers buy insurance. That’s because when you purchase insurance, CLUE provides insurance underwriters with a history on you in order to determine your appropriate insurance rate.
CLUE Helps When Insurance Claims Are Made
CLUE also helps insurance claims investigators with a window into such potentially fraudulent claim activity. One ‘flag’ of possible insurance fraud includes a homeowner making questionable or suspicious claims on their insurance policy, sometimes over a relatively short period of time. Once a claim is flagged, more sophisticated anti-fraud techniques can be employed to ensure an insurance claim payoff is legitimate.
CLUE Helps When Buying or Selling A House
CLUE reports can help homebuyers and sellers understand what specific home insurance claims were made and what damages were left unpaid, while revealing damage or potential damage that may impact the value of the home you own, or are looking to buy.
Take a Peek Inside a CLUE Report
The CLUE system holds information on millions of home and auto claims. In a way, you might consider a CLUE report as similar to a credit report. Yet instead of credit, CLUE examines all claims reported to the insurance company for a given property or auto over a recent multi-year period, for things like water damage, fires, and mold. Reports show the date of loss, type of loss, and amount paid out.
What’s In A CLUE
A home or auto’s CLUE loss history report provides insurance company names, policy numbers and claim numbers. The report also lists information on denied claims.
Some of the types of claims listed include weather-related losses, plus those due to fire, theft, vandalism, mold and water damage. But the report typically doesn’t indicate what part of the property or home was affected. For such detailed information, you may need to ask the homeowner.
Sometimes reports are blank. A blank report might mean either:
- The homeowner did not make any claims in the past seven years, or
- The home was covered by an insurance company that doesn’t participate in CLUE.
Some insurance companies, when you call up and ask questions, will log it on your CLUE report. Under certain circumstances, this may cause other insurance companies not want to insure you. But don’t be intimidated, because the good news is you can order your free CLUE report here, once a year just like you can with your credit report. If something turns up false, you can challenge it through the dispute process.
Yet Another CLUE For You
If you’re a homebuyer, having a seller’s cooperation in order to view their CLUE report will be helpful. That’s because in order to receive a CLUE report, the owner of the home or vehicle must request it for you. So in other words, it’s not set up for you to speculatively order it for a car or property you’re merely curious about. However, if you have a pending sale agreement for purchase of a home, that’s often an opportune time to ask a seller for a CLUE report. Some buyers make their purchase contingent on a satisfactory CLUE report, or on the buyer obtaining affordable insurance.
The CLUE Advantage
In today’s real estate market, sellers appreciate having an advantage. CLUE reports can be one piece to that puzzle. If you’re trying to sell your home, why not request the property report on your residence and make it available for prospective buyers to see? That way they know there’s no hidden damage that you made an insurance claim about but didn’t otherwise disclose. It’s peace of mind for a buyer.
Sure, the buyer will likely get the property inspected as a condition of purchase, but having the CLUE report handy is just another way to ensure them they’re not buying a property loaded with hidden problems that got passed on to the insurer.
To request your auto & home CLUE reports, you’re required to provide your Social Security number and there is a charge if you need homeowner’s reports for more than one address. Otherwise, the Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles you to a free copy of your CLUE report each year. To request your free copy, click here.
A CLUE For Sellers
Homesellers may wish to order their home’s CLUE report before listing the property. This will make them aware of potential problems in selling the home and will give them a chance to correct any wrong information in the report.
A CLUE for Buyers
Ask the seller to present you with the home’s CLUE report. There’s potentially lots to gain and little to lose. In today’s real estate environment, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Thinking About Selling Your Oregon Property?
For a free homeselling consultation, contact your Oregon Real Estate Podcast host, Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty using the convenient form below, or call him at 971-258-4822 today.