What is a CLUE report?

If you’ve ever purchased insurance, you know how costly it can be. Insurance companies provide rates that are personalized for each customer, based on a number of factors. But do you know exactly how insurance companies determine your rate?

Most people are aware that certain factors, like their age and state of residence, are used to calculate their premium. However, you might not know that insurance companies also consider your CLUE report to set your rate and assess your level of risk. In this article, we’ll explain the ins and outs of the CLUE report and help you understand how it affects your insurance premium.

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      What is a CLUE report?

      A CLUE report is a record of every insurance claim you’ve ever filed in the past seven years. There is a CLUE report for your auto claims and a CLUE report for personal property claims stemming from your homeowners insurance policy.

      A C.L.U.E. report is an acronym stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, which is the database that stores individual CLUE files, managed by LexisNexis. Every month, insurance companies report their customer’s most recent claims which get added to the database.

      According to LexisNexis, 96% of insurance companies submit their customer’s personal property claim information to CLUE, and over 99% of car insurance providers submit auto claims data to the database.

      Insurance companies use your CLUE reports to determine how likely you are to submit a claim. Based on their findings, they might increase or decrease your rate. If you’re shopping for new insurance, the company will look at your CLUE reports before approving your policy.

      Your CLUE insurance reports don’t reveal everything about you. However, it’s an accurate way for insurers to gauge your risk and determine how much money you could cost them, based on your claims history or the claims history of a car or property you’re interested in buying.

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      What information is in a CLUE report?

      A CLUE report contains detailed information on your recent insurance claims. If you looked at your CLUE reports, here’s a breakdown of the information you would find:

      • Basic personal information, like name, date of birth and gender of the person who filed the claim
      • Cause of the claim
      • Location of the claim
      • Date of the claim
      • Description of the claim
      • Value of the claim
      • Status of the claim
      • Type of policy you have
      • Insurance company information, including the policy number and claim number

      For a CLUE auto report, the insurance company will also include specific information about the car (make, model and VIN number), and CLUE personal property reports will list details about the home (address, date of purchase and current value).

      Remember that CLUE reports are used to record information about your insurance claims, not your personal information. Sensitive information regarding lawsuits, criminal records, credit reports and credit cards are excluded. CLUE reports also don’t contain your social security number.

      What are the benefits of a CLUE report?

      Having a CLUE report can be beneficial in a few situations, but especially when you’re thinking about purchasing a home or car. Before you make a big investment, it’s a good idea to obtain a copy of the CLUE report to see the previous owner’s claims history. The more claims they filed in the past, the more expensive it will be for you to get insurance in the future.

      While some claims are relatively minor, others are pretty significant. For instance, you would want to know if the home you’re looking at was devastated by an electrical fire or had water damage after a major storm. Even if those damages were repaired, your insurance company still views the property as risky, meaning higher rates for you. You might also be able to get clues about potential problems the property might have in the future.

      Additionally, some sellers might want to get their car or home off their hands as quickly as possible, and fail to disclose major claims. When you have access to a CLUE report, you’re not relying on the previous owner to give you all the details.

      On the same note, having a CLUE report is also helpful if you are selling your home or vehicle. Offering a copy of your CLUE report to potential buyers makes you a more credible seller. If you have a clean CLUE report, you can use that as leverage to charge a higher price.

      If you’re selling your home, know that real estate agents don’t have access to CLUE reports. If you want to provide a copy to interested buyers, it’s your responsibility to get a copy from LexisNexis and provide the documentation.

      How do you obtain your CLUE report?

      Getting a copy of your CLUE report is simple. You can request a copy for free once every year, and as many times as needed after that, for a fee of about $20.

      To get your CLUE auto and CLUE personal property reports, you can request access from LexisNexis online, by mail or by calling customer service at 866-897-8126.

      You’ll receive your reports in about 15 business days. For that reason, it’s a good idea to obtain a copy of your CLUE reports before you decide to list your car or home for sale.

      How do CLUE reports affect insurance?

      You can expect your CLUE reports to affect your insurance premiums—either positively or negatively. Based on your claims history, the insurance company will assess your risk and calculate your rate based on their findings. Even a small claim of a few hundred dollars can raise a red flag for the insurance company.

      Every time you file a claim, the insurance company loses money because they have to reimburse you for the loss. Like any business, the insurance company wants to keep as much money as possible. By charging you a higher premium, they’re able to offset some of their losses if they think you’ll file more claims in the future.

      In most cases, the more claims you have on your record, the more the insurance company will charge you. Conversely, a clean CLUE record usually means you’re getting the best rate based on other factors, like your state, age and credit score.

      How do you file a CLUE report dispute?

      Most insurance companies employ agents to create claim files and submit the information to the CLUE database. Because of that, there’s always a risk for human error.

      If you notice an error on your CLUE report, contact LexisNexis directly and explain the error in as much detail as possible. They’ll get in touch with your insurance company to have the mistakes corrected on their end. Keep in mind that if you filed a claim but didn’t end up settling with the insurance company, it might still show up on your CLUE report.

      Elizabeth Rivelli

      Contributing Writer

      Elizabeth is a contributor to The Simple Dollar, where she reviews insurance providers and policies. She has more than three years of experience writing for top online insurance and finance publications, including Bankrate, Coverage.com and Reviews.com.