Get A 'CLUE' About Your Insurance

Most consumers know that the credit bureaus maintain detailed information about their credit and loan activity. But did you know there is a report that includes detailed information about insurance losses, claims and inquiries involving you and/or the property you own?

The Early Show's resident money maven, Ray Martin, stressed Thursday that consumers need to know about these reports, and how the information in them is used. They also need to know how they can access and use these reports before they consider important transactions, such as buying or selling a home or changing home or auto insurance.

The reports, Martin explains, can make a big difference in what consumers pay for insurance.

Getting a CLUE

The C.L.U.E., or Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, is a database of insurance losses and claims that was created and is maintained by the Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint Asset Company.

The CLUE database is one of the most comprehensive sources of insurance losses and claims information used by the insurance industry, businesses and the government. It includes over 40 million insurance claims reported over the past five years and is used by 90 percent of the property insurance market.

The information on a CLUE report includes claims and losses reported by insured individuals regarding their insured vehicles and property. CLUE reports include detailed information about each claim by you and/or on your property, including the insurance company name, policy number, claim number, the insured, the property address, your Social Security number, your mortgage company, mortgage loan number, and the amount and reason for each claim.

Beware of What You Inquire About, and How

Consumers also need to know that merely contacting their insurance company or agent to discuss an actual loss and how their insurance might cover it is often considered to be reporting a claim. The result is that this information will show up on your property's CLUE report, regardless of whether your carrier makes a claim payment. This is because policies require insurance companies to take specific actions within specific timeframes when a loss is reported.

However, when you make an inquiry only – to discuss generally how your coverage works on a specific loss, without disclosing that the loss has occurred – then the inquiry is not reported at that time. Consumers need to be specific as to whether they are filing a claim or only making an inquiry.