Get a C.L.U.E. !
C.L.U.E. Reports and Why They are Important to You
Many home buyers fall in love with their house, sometimes at first sight. However, it is important to be wise when you open up your heart. You don’t want to be disappointed that the insurance premiums on the home you’re considering may be extraordinarily high, or perhaps that you can’t get insurance on the property at all. To avoid these types of surprises and disappointments, get a C.L.U.E.!
What is a C.L.U.E. Report?
C.L.U.E. stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. It is a claims history database generated by LexisNexis® enabling insurance companies to access up to 7 years of a person’s insurance claims history when they are underwriting or rating an insurance policy. Research firm LexisNexis® administers the exchange and gives you free access to your C.L.U.E. reports once a year.
There are two types of C.L.U.E. reports – there’s one for personal property loss (includes information pertaining to your house) and one for auto losses. You can request a C.L.U.E. report only on yourself, your minor child, or on someone for whom you have a power of attorney. You must be the owner of the home or vehicle you’re requesting a report on; you can’t do it speculatively for a property or car you’re thinking about buying. So, if you’re a prospective home buyer, you’ll need to request that the seller provide the report for the property. Homeowners can request a free C.L.U.E. report online at NexisLexis, but prospective buyers must request a copy of the home history report from the current property owner.
Why Do You Need a C.L.U.E. Report?
A C.L.U.E. report provides a history of insurance claims on a particular property or on the insured individual. They are available on both homeowners insurance (personal property report) and auto insurance policies, and are used by insurance companies to determine whether to approve an insurance policy and, if approved, how much to charge for premiums.
The C.L.U.E. report includes a seven-year history of all insurance claims with information about the type of claim, the date, and how much the insurance company paid to resolve the problem. The information comes from insurance companies that contribute loss data information to LexisNexis®, which maintains databases of consumer information. Home warranty claims are not included on a C.L.U.E. report.
What You Can Learn From a C.L.U.E. Report
When you review the C.L.U.E. report of a home you’d like to buy, look for claims that indicate a potential ongoing problem, particularly claims that involve water damage. For example, if a home has had even one claim involving water, investigate the existence of mold or perhaps explore the need for flood insurance. If the pipes have frozen more than once, the home may need additional insulation.
Other potential red flags include multiple claims of any sort, such as more than one fire or more than one burglary. While these types of problems could indicate carelessness on the part of the owners, they could also mean that the home has a faulty electrical system or is located in an undesirable area.
In particular, review the C.L.U.E. report for claims related to:
• Water damage from a pipe burst
• A flooded basement
• Storm damage
• Damage from an electrical fire
• Multiple fires
• Multiple thefts
Act Sooner, Not Later
Request a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report from the sellers. You can ask the sellers to obtain their free C.L.U.E. report from the LexisNexis website or by calling 1-866-312-8076.
If at all possible, request the C.L.U.E. report prior to your scheduled home inspection so that you can provide your home inspector with pertinent information regarding any claims/repairs made for the property.
Get the C.L.U.E. report and apply for insurance coverage as early in the home buying process as possible. Every buyer should be careful to apply for coverage very quickly after a contract is signed by both parties. The goal is to get an approval or receive any bad news before getting too far into the transaction and incurring costs.
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