How Your C.L.U.E. Report Affects Your Home and Car Insurance Premiums
You might wonder how your insurance premiums are determined.
Well, one thing that insurers look at is your "insurance report."
It's like a credit report or ChexSystems report -- except it looks at your past insurance claims.
Drivers and homeowners who have made one or more claims in the recent past tend to be more likely to submit one in the future, and they may face higher premiums.
To make the process of searching prior claims easier, insurers use a central report called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (or C.L.U.E.) report to view them all in one place.
As with your credit report, it’s important to check your C.L.U.E. report regularly to make sure the information is up-to-date and accurate.
What Is a C.L.U.E. Report?
A C.L.U.E. report is an insurance claims report provided by LexisNexis Risk Solutions and provides a seven-year history of your losses associated with your auto and homeowners insurance policies.
You have two separate reports:
- one for auto claims
- one for property claims
For each report, you’ll get a list of claims, including the date of the loss, the type of loss, and amount paid by the insurance company.
You’ll also see general information, such as your policy number, claim number, and the name of the insurer.
The report can also include inquiries, which happen when you call an agent or a company representative to discuss your coverage.
LexisNexis advises insurance companies to not report these inquiries as claims, but it can happen, so it’s important to state that you’re making an inquiry and not filing a claim.
If you haven’t made any claims in the past seven years with either your auto or homeowners insurance policies, your report should be clear.
But sometimes insurers make mistakes, and it’s possible to find erroneous information.
How Does a C.L.U.E. Report Affect You?
Just about every homeowners and auto insurer uses the C.L.U.E. report to check your claims history when you apply for a policy.
This is because insurers partially base their rates on how much of a risk you pose as a policyholder.
If the insurer believes, based on your previous claims history, that you’re more likely to file another claim in the future, it could increase your premium.
Not all claims are the same, however.
An auto insurance company, for instance, will distinguish between a tree branch falling on your car and a major accident where you were at fault.
And if your payouts from past claims have all been relatively low, the rate increase may not be too high.
With homeowners insurance, a C.L.U.E. report may reveal certain patterns.
For example, if your home has experienced repeated vandalism or another type of loss, the insurer may reasonably assume that these losses will happen again and may raise your rates or deny your application altogether.
If you’re planning to sell your home and you’ve lived in the house for at least seven years, a C.L.U.E. report can be a valuable selling point.
If you can show prospective buyers that the home hasn’t had any losses, it can provide them with more peace of mind.
How to Check Your C.L.U.E. Report
Whether you’re considering applying for an auto or a homeowners insurance policy or not, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your C.L.U.E. report at least once a year to know what’s in it.
If you’re planning to apply for auto or homeowners insurance in the near future, it’s all the more important to get a copy.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act allows consumers to get a free copy of each of their reports every 12 months.
If you want additional reports, they cost $19.95 apiece.
Note: You can only request a C.L.U.E. report on your own property or vehicle. So if you’re planning to buy a house, only the seller can request a report for the property.
You can submit your request for a copy to LexisNexis online, by phone at 866-312-8076, or by mail. If you want to submit your request by mail, download the order form, fill it out, and send it to:
- LexisNexis Consumer Center
P.O. Box 105295
Atlanta, GA 30348-5295
Regardless of how you choose to request the report, you’ll need to provide some basic information, including:
- your name
- contact information
- date of birth
- driver’s license number
- Social Security number
You’ll also need to complete a quiz to verify your identity.
Once you complete the process and LexisNexis receives your request, you’ll receive a copy of your report within 15 business days.
Once you get the report, check for any incorrect information. If you find some, consider disputing it before you apply for a new policy.
How to Dispute an Item on Your C.L.U.E. Report
If you notice that an insurer counted an inquiry as a claim or another error or incomplete information, you can submit a dispute to LexisNexis.
To start the process, call LexisNexis at 888-497-0011 or send a letter, preferably with evidence for your dispute, to:
- LexisNexis Consumer Center
P.O. Box 105108
Atlanta, GA, 30348
Once the company receives your dispute, it has 30 days to conduct an investigation. You’ll receive a response by mail within five business days of the investigation’s completion.
If your report has been updated to remove the inaccuracy or update the correct information, you can start applying for quotes without worrying about it affecting your rate.
If, however, LexisNexis determines that you’re in the wrong, you can add a statement to the item on your report about the nature of the dispute. When insurance companies check your C.L.U.E. report in the future, they’ll be able to see this summary.
The item will remain on your C.L.U.E. report for up to seven years after it was first added and, despite the statement, can still affect your rates.
Consider Other Ways to Reduce Your Rate
While your C.L.U.E. report is an important element in determining your insurance rates, it’s not the only one.
Depending on the type of insurance you’re applying for, the insurer may also consider where you live, the type of home or car, your credit history and more.
Here are some tips to help you get a lower rate.
When it comes to insurance, It’s rarely a good idea to go with the first offer you see.
You may have friends or family members give you recommendations for affordable coverage, but with so many factors on the table, you may get an entirely different experience.
Get quotes from at least 3 to 5 insurers with the same coverage levels to see what’s available.
Depending on your situation, you could save hundreds of dollars a year by doing this.
Improve your credit
If your credit is in bad shape, work on improving it.
In most states, both homeowners and auto insurance companies use a credit-based insurance score to help determine risk.
The better your credit score, you're premiums will likely be lower.
The only states where the use of credit-based insurance scores is illegal are California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii for auto insurance and Maryland and Hawaii for homeowners insurance.
Ask for discounts
Most insurance companies provide policyholders with a slew of discounts.
With auto insurance, for instance, you may get a lower rate if you have a history of good driving, have certain safety devices installed in your car, or drive an alternative-fuel or hybrid vehicle.
With homeowners insurance, you might score a lower rate by installing a security system, live in a gated community, or add an impact-resistant roof.
Both homeowners and auto insurers may also offer discounts if you pay your premium in full instead of monthly and bundle multiple policies with the same company.
As you’re shopping around, check to see which discounts each insurer offers.
There’s no guarantee that the one with the most discounts will be the cheapest, but the activity can help you get the best rate available based on the ones you qualify for.
The Bottom Line
Your C.L.U.E. report is an important document that tells insurance companies how you’ve made claims in the past.
Based on this information, insurers can predict whether you’ll make claims again in the future.
If they determine that the risk is there, they may offer higher rates than what you’d otherwise get.
The last thing you want, though, is to pay higher rates because of an error.
As a result, it’s important to check your C.L.U.E. report regularly to make sure everything is correct. If you find erroneous or incomplete information, submit a dispute to get it corrected as soon as possible.
Also, remember that your report is just one of the many factors insurers consider when setting rates. So look for other ways to reduce your insurance premiums as well.