CLUE, which stands for comprehensive loss underwriting exchange, is the database that insurance companies submit all property claims information to. From this database, which is owned and operated by LexisNexis, you can pull two types of reports. One has to do with the home you own and the other one with your car insurance.
If you’re shopping for car insurance or selling your home, you could benefit from getting your CLUE report.
The first type of CLUE report is for car owners, and it contains up to seven years of auto-related claims information. The report includes policy information such as your name, date of birth and policy number. In addition, you’ll find the date of a loss, type of loss, and the amount that the insurance company paid out.
Most importantly, this CLUE report outlines the type of vehicle you drive for authentication of its claims history.
When you apply for auto insurance coverage, the auto insurance company will request your CLUE report. With your claim history in hand, the insurer can identify whether you are a potentially high-risk client. Alternatively, the CLUE report can prove to the insurer you’re a low-risk customer making you eligible for a lower rate.
Yes, you could benefit from getting your own CLUE report if you plan to sell your car privately. By proving that you’ve had a clean accident portfolio for the past seven years, a potential buyer may be more willing to pay a higher price for the vehicle that you have for sale.
The second type of CLUE report discloses the claims history of the home or property that you currently own and insure. As a home seller, you can use this report to your advantage.
Prove upkeep. If there aren’t frequent claims for the same problem popping up, there’s a good chance that you’re maintaining your property. It might also mean that everything is in overall good working order so that you don’t have to file claims.
Show no hidden flaws. It’s easy to cover up mold and mildew with a coat of paint - for a short while. Eventually problems like this will need to be addressed, and may require making a homeowners insurance claim. But if you don’t have any water-related claims activity, a prospective buyer will feel far more comfortable with the condition of your home - including that fresh coat of paint you recently put on your walls.
Prepare an explanation. What do you do if something did happen that resulted in an insurance claim? For starters, have your documentation ready to show that you resolved the situation, and everything was fixed properly. This means contractor receipts and, if available, inspection notices.
You are entitled to a free copy of both CLUE reports once a year. It’s part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, which also allows you to receive a free credit report from each credit bureau annually. You can request your personal reports either by:
To err is human, and insurance companies are full of human beings. They make mistakes. That big water damage spectacle your neighbor underwent may end up mistakenly on your address. Or, your CLUE report might show repeated car claims when it is actually someone with a similar name and vehicle who’s racking up the repairs.
Just as you should check your credit report once a year for accuracy, it’s also wise to check your CLUE report to make sure that everything in the report is correct. If there’s a problem, you can request to have it fixed. This may not be a big deal to you today, but it could be a sticking point when you sell the property.
A prospective homebuyer might ask you for a copy of the report, only to go back on a deal because of adverse information. The same goes for the car that you want to sell. In addition, auto insurance companies may also base their rates on some of the details from the report. If your CLUE report shows inaccuracies, you might end up paying more for the coverage that you’re buying right now.
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If you’re the homebuyer or car shopper, you have every right to ask for the CLUE report. Mind you, the seller doesn’t have to provide it. Moreover, only the owner of the property in question can request it. Therefore, you can’t run a CLUE report on that home you have an eye on.
The CLUE report also shouldn’t be used as a substitute for an inspection. When you buy a car, you should still have a mechanic give it a once-over before money changes hands. If you're selling a home, a home inspector will take a professional look to identify any potential problems.
Remember, the CLUE report doesn’t include every issue - just those where an insurance claim was filed.
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