SALT LAKE CITY — Let’s say your car winds up in a crash, or a storm wreaks havoc on your house. If you file an insurance claim, it will go into your CLUE report. Chances are you have not heard of a CLUE report, let alone how to access it.
Officially known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, your CLUE report keeps record of every insurance claim filed on your car and your home for the last seven years.
Insurance providers often pull CLUE reports to determine your level of risk. The higher the risk, the more you’ll end up paying for home or auto insurance premiums.
But it is not all bad news. CLUE reports have benefits too, especially for home buyers.
“Use it as a tool, as part of your due diligence to figure out if you want to purchase the home,” said real estate agent Jennifer Gilchrist of Utah Key Real Estate.
She said using CLUE reports to gauge a home’s condition hit the real estate radar just a couple years ago. What they can do is reveal a home’s red flags before you buy it.
“If it has multiple claims for water issues, then you might want to find out what’s going on,” Gilchrist explained. “Ask, ‘why is this an ongoing issue?’”
She is adamant that a CLUE report is no substitute for a home inspection.
“You have your title report. Your inspection report. You have your seller property condition disclosure, and this is just another item in your toolbox,” said Gilchrist. “If a CLUE report mentioned that there is a roof issue and a roof had been replaced or repaired, you can have your inspector go up there and make sure that it was repaired properly and it is still not an ongoing issue.”
CLUE reports will show losses from roof damage, water damage, storm damage, multiple thefts, anything someone has filed a claim on.
“If they had several claims for theft, you might want to contact the police department to see what type of crime is in the area or pull up one of those websites that will show you the crime in certain areas,” Gilchrist suggested.
There is a catch: only the actual homeowners call pull their own home’s CLUE report. Gilchrist recommends buyers ask sellers for a copy as part of the negotiation process. The reports are free.
As mandated by the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, you are allowed to pull a free CLUE report, every year. And, they are fairly easy to pull.
In your browser, go to Personalreports.lexisnexis.com and click on the Insurance Report option at the bottom of the screen. From there, you can fill in your information and you should see your report in a few minutes.
Even if you’re not selling or buying a home, pulling a CLUE report once a year is a good idea. This is your chance to fix errors that might have spiked your home or auto insurance premiums.