How do auto insurance companies decide what to charge you? The short answer is by assessing information about you and your car and deciding what it means for how likely you might be to make a claim.
You’ll be aware of some of these factors already: age, address, etc. These are standard pieces of info you would give an insurer when getting a quote. But what about something like your claim history? How do they know about that – especially if you’re switching insurance companies?
That’s where the CLUE report comes in. It’s a vital piece of information for helping insurers decide how to set your premium. Because of this, the information in it is pretty important.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What is a CLUE Report?
- How the CLUE system could affect your auto or home insurance rates
- Does the CLUE Report include past owners’ claims?
- What if there’s an error?
- How to get a CLUE Report
What is a CLUE Report?
Also known as a Loss History Report, a CLUE Report is a record of insurance losses. Each month, participating homeowners and auto insurance companies report claims history information, which goes into a central database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE).
Insurance companies also request this data by inputting search criteria such as the insurance applicant’s name, address, and date of birth.
Reports are typically used by insurance companies to help them determine rates for home or auto policies.
There are two types of such reports:
- CLUE Auto Report
- CLUE Personal Property Report
- Here’s what’s included:
- Personal information of the individual, such as their name, date of birth, and gender
- Description of the property
- Cause of loss (i.e. the claim) on the personal property or car
- Location of loss
- Date of the loss
- Amount and status of each claim
- Type of policy (i.e. condo, flood, fire, homeowners, mobile home, earthquake, bodily injury, collision, medical payment, comprehensive)
- General info, such as the policy number, claim number, and the name of the insurance company
If you’re ordering a personal property report for homeowners insurance, the report will include the property address. If you’re ordering a report for auto coverage, it will have info that’s specific to the vehicle.
Only information that has to do with the insurance policy is part of the CLUE Report. So you won’t expect to find the following:
- Legal judgements or court trial information
- Criminal records
- Civil lawsuits
- Credit reports
- Information from any state department (i.e. DMV) or a similar organization
- Sensitive or private information, such as your Social Security number, banking or credit card information
How the CLUE system could affect your auto or home insurance rates
Each time you file an insurance claim that information gets recorded into the CLUE database. Data filed in the CLUE database is primarily used for insurers to see what claims you’ve made.
Let’s say you were in a collision that wasn’t reported to the police, but there was an insurance claim made on it. In this scenario, the CLUE Report would include this. And since your claims history is a factor in setting rates, the report is essential in determining your premium.
A common misconception is that claims made on personal property, such as your home or rental property, or car are siloed. That personal property claims won’t affect your auto insurance, or vice versa. However, that’s not the case. If you filed a number of homeowners insurance claims, that could in turn affect your auto insurance policy.
Now if you’re shopping around for a home, and curious to see how hard it would be to get homeowners insurance and how much the premium would cost, you would play the role of the surveyor.
Because only the homeowner can request a CLUE Report on their own claims, either you or your home inspector need to ask the current homeowner to order a report and let you review it.
Does the CLUE Report include past owners’ claims?
Unfortunately, it does not. Just like how most insurance is linked to individuals or households, reports are linked to the individual, not the property or car. So the report only includes the history of personal property or auto insurance losses of a single owner.
So if a home or car has passed several hands in the last seven years, you won’t see past owners’ claims on a single report; just the owner who requested the report. So you’ll need to request a separate report from each individual.
And if there weren’t any reported insurance losses in the last seven years, chances are your report will come up clear.
What if there’s an error?
If you find there’s a mistake in a report, such as an incorrect loss payment or claim report, one can dispute it by contacting LexisNexis directly. Let them know what the issue is, and they’ll contact the insurance company on the individual’s behalf. LexisNexis has 30 days to get back to you with an update.
Besides reporting errors, if you feel a claim could use an explanation or update, you can add a personal statement to include in the report. For instance, let’s say there’s a previous homeowner insurance claim that had to with a dog bite. If that dog has passed and is no longer a part of your household, you can request to add that info to your report.
Or say you had made a claim, but realized it would push up your premiums. You ended up canceling the claim and paid for the cost of repairs yourself. If this was still on your CLUE report, you may want to contact LexisNexis to see if you can remove this claim or include an explanation.
How to get a CLUE Report
LexisNexis, which provides legal and business information and analytics, culls the data and creates the report. By law, you can request a free report per year. If someone needs to order more than one, they’re $19.95 for each.
Here’s the thing: A CLUE Report can only be ordered by the insurer, owner, or lender of the property or car. However, you can ask the current owner to order a report and let you see it.
After all, it’s in both parties’ interest that you have all the information you need to make the best decision. Otherwise, it could lead to complications, a holdup on the buying process, and greater costs — not to mention a huge headache.
You can either order by:
- Phone: 1-866-312-8076
- Online: https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com
- Or by mail (info to order by mail is on the website)
The order can be placed for both the auto or personal property report at the same time, or one can request a report for either. It takes about 15 business days for you to receive it in the mail.
By knowing what a CLUE Report is and how claims affect the insurance rate when shopping for a car or home, you can understand the full costs of ownership. In turn, you can do what’s best for your needs and situation.