What is a CLUE report?

A CLUE report -- Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange -- is a database of claims on auto insurance and home insurance over seven years. The Fair And Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) entitles you one free copy of a CLUE report per year.

Owned and operated by LEXIS-NEXIS, the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange is not well-known outside of the insurance industry. It’s a way for insurers to track claims that have been filed against your home and auto insurance.

While useful, the report isn’t universal. Francis Doyle, senior vice president of insurance for AAA Northeast, says the CLUE report isn’t as reliable as you might think.

"It's one piece of a puzzle that's used by many companies, but not for every customer. This is all data shared from one insurer to another. For example, if an insurer is looking at a customer, they have a whole host of underwriting reports that they're looking for," he says.

Doyle added that insurance companies voluntarily share data for the CLUE report. However, it’s not a complete picture since some companies don’t share data.

The information in a CLUE report includes:

  • Your policy number
  • Date of the loss
  • Type of loss
  • Insurance company’s name
  • The amount the company paid for the loss
  • Claims in which no money was paid out and for which you weren’t at fault

LEXIS-NEXIS accepts requests for CLUE reports online, via email and snail mail or over the phone. You must answer security questions to confirm your identity.

You can order reports for yourself, your property or someone you have legal authority over, such as a minor.

How do you use a CLUE report?

After getting your hands on a report, the first thing you want to do is comb through it to ensure there are no inaccuracies.

Insurers submit claims data monthly to the reports, but remember, it’s voluntary. This means some claims might not appear.

False claims and inaccuracies can be disputed by reaching out to LEXIS-NEXIS at 888-497-0011; consumer.documents@LexisNexis.com; or LEXIS-NEXIS Consumer Center, ATTN: FACT Act Dispute Request, P.O. Box 105108, Atlanta, GA, 30348.

Resolving the inaccuracies might help with your premiums. If there are too many claims, you move into a higher-risk category and could potentially pay more.

After checking for errors and disputing and resolving any that appear, you can make the report available to interested parties. For example, you could add it to your home listing so that potential buyers get a full picture of the house's history.

How does the CLUE report affect insurance?

Insurance companies take into account the CLUE report when calculating your insurance rates.

Derek Spellman from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance says insurers usually use past claims data to determine insurability and set current and future rates.

"From an insurance perspective, the report collects and relays claims history to insurers, enabling the companies to access consumer claims information when underwriting or rating an insurance policy. In the insurance industry, these reports are used generally to underwrite and rate new policies," Spellman says.

Why would you want a CLUE report?

The CLUE report allows you a free look at your claims history to make sure no one filed a false claim against you, and there are no other inaccuracies that affect your insurance rates.

Other reasons to consider pulling a report include selling your car or home. Potential home buyers may want to know the claims history of a home before buying it.

If you’re the home buyer, you may want to ask the seller to pull the property’s CLUE report. Since you don't own it, you can't request it, but they can. It would help see work done involving an insurance claim, such as a fire or flood damage.

In most cases, the work that’s done would make the house more sound. However, a CLUE report may also show potential red flags like flood damage.

CLUE reports are available, but Spellman says his office doesn’t usually recommend consumers pull their CLUE report.

"We generally don't advise consumers about how often to take a look at their consumer disclosure report, as it depends on their own circumstances," he said.

Checking the CLUE report is nowhere near as vital as checking your credit report yearly. Credit history is another way most insurers gauge a person’s risk. The more issues in your credit history, the more you’ll likely pay for insurance. However, getting a look at your CLUE report isn't a bad idea; it's free and you could catch a major error.