Your Insurance Report Could Be Costing You!
How a company you’ve never heard of could be costing you $100s a year in insurance premiums!
Ever since moving to Phoenix I’ve been suspicious that my car insurance premium was way too high, so when it came time to renew, I decided to shop around. My very first quote from a national insurance company looked like it was going to save me almost 50% of what I was paying – until we went to bind coverage and then the price jumped. When I pressed the agent all I could get was that was an “unreported incidence.” I’ve been driving for years, had one speeding ticket decades ago, my last accident was in high school and I drive a Kia. What were these “incidences”? The next day I called back and asked to speak to customer service. I was informed that I had failed to disclose a previous accident that occurred the past December 24th. So, I forget stuff all the time. I forget to buy things when I’m at the grocery store. I forget to call friends. Sometimes I forget meetings; however, I did not forget about a car accident on Christmas Eve! I was further informed that although it was determined that I was not at fault, it would affect my premium and there was nothing that could be done. My snarky response about being clipped by low flying reindeer probably didn't endear me to the representative; however, she did tell me about a shadowy organization of which I had never heard: C.L.U.E. (Cue the Bond soundtrack)
Turns out C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) is a division of LexisNexis® and they compile insurance claim data on both auto and property insurance (in 2 separate databases). The data is provided by the insurance companies themselves and is used when underwriting new policies. Once the report of a claim is entered into the database, it remains there for 7 years. Got into a fender bender? It’s in the database. Broken pipe flood your home? It’s in the database. Never got into an accident Christmas Eve? It’s in the database too. Although only insurance information is stored, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) covers this data and consumers are entitled to one free report annually. Such a report can be obtained by calling 866-312-8076 or by visiting LexisNexis. Yes, it's the 2000s but as far as I can tell there is no app for this. After getting a copy of my report I was able to file a dispute. The agent I spoke to highly recommended that I provide supporting documentation that I was in-fact not involved in the alleged accident; however, when I enquired as to whether a letter from Santa might help she had no response. About 30 days after filing my dispute, I got a letter from LexisNexis stating that the accident in dispute had been removed from my record and that my insurance company had been informed. Interestingly, my premium did not decrease until I called the insurnce company and asked them to revaluate my account. Although my premium did fall, it never reached the amount initially quoted.
What’s the moral of my story? Check your insurance history every year, or it could cost you a bundle!