CONSUMER

Get Gephardt: Little-known insurance report where an error can cost you thousands in higher premiums

Jan 22, 2024, 4:30 PM | Updated: 10:52 pm

SANDY — A Sandy man was surprised to find claims included in his insurance history were not only wrong but were driving up his insurance prices.

Andy Petersen made the discovery while shopping around for better insurance rates for both his home and his cars.

“My rates went up quite a bit over the last year,” Petersen explained.

The new quotes came in even higher – way higher – than the premium he was already paying. In fact, one insurance company said it couldn’t even provide him with home insurance. When Petersen asked why, an insurer pointed to all the claims he has been making.

“I haven’t made any claims,” he said.

Andy Petersen shows KSL’s Matt Gephardt an insurance loss report detailing several claims he says he’s never made but are driving up his home and auto insurance prices. (Josh Szymanik, KSL TV)

That insurance company sent him a history of all the claims he has allegedly made. Petersen says it is littered with claims he’s never made on cars he’s never driven and for homes he’s never lived in. So, why in the world is he getting dinged for someone else’s dings?

“It feels really unfair,” he said. “Feels out of my control.”

What is a CLUE report?

As the KSL Investigators began digging, we found the insurance industry has a network that shares information about people and their claims. That info is gathered into what are called CLUE reports – Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange.

Say your car gets crunched in a crash or a tree comes crashing through your home. If you file a claim, it lands in your CLUE report and stays there for seven years.

“It’s a way that the insurance companies can gauge your risk,” said Les Masterson, insurance analyst with Forbes Advisor. “And when they’re setting rates, they review your CLUE report to see what kind of claims you had, how much were they and how often you filed. If they deem you a higher risk, then they’re going to charge you more if they give you a policy.”

Checking your report for errors

Whether you have heard of a CLUE report or not, it can be riddled with errors.

“Oh, definitely,” Masterson said. “That is really common.”

Masterson said errors in your CLUE report can do real damage to your auto and home insurance rates.

“It could lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars more of paying for insurance,” he said.

Also, a CLUE report contains every claim – even if it was denied or never filed. Masterson said even thinking about a claim, can hurt you.

“If you’d called the insurance company and asked, ‘I have roof damage and I’m thinking about filing a claim, but I’m not sure’ – just doing that ends up being a CLUE report, even if you don’t follow through,” Masterson said.

Even using your insurance company’s roadside assistance plan for something like a dead battery or a flat tire are considered claims that also can be reported, which in turn might lead to rate bumps down the road. The overwhelming majority of home and auto insurance carriers use CLUE reports, according to CLUE’s owner, LexisNexis.

“So, it’s a good idea to check it just to make sure, because there can be errors,” Masterson said.

Car owners, homeowners and renters can pull their own CLUE report for free once a year, just like a credit report. And you can dispute errors that LexisNexis will then investigate.

LexisNexis’ CLUE reports are used by insurance companies to help determine your risk and how much to charge you for insurance. (KSL TV)

If the agency agrees or can’t verify those claims with the insurance company that added it to your CLUE report, it’ll update or wipe out those errors. Petersen is currently working his way through that dispute process.

“You’re not expecting to have a history of claims come back that aren’t yours, right?” he said.

As for how all those bogus dings ended up his problem, he has a theory.

“I don’t feel like it’s fraud,” he said. “I feel like there’s probably more than one Andrew Petersen.”

Requesting your reports

To request a CLUE report from LexisNexis, you can call 888-497-0011 or request one through this online link.

LexisNexis isn’t the only game in town when it comes to collecting and reporting insurance claims. You can request a similar A-PLUS report from Verisk online or by calling 800-627-3487.

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Get Gephardt: Little-known insurance report where an error can cost you thousands in higher premiums