This is a re-blog from Virginia Gardner of Roy Wheeler Realty Co. in Charlottesvlile, Virginia. Comments have been disabled, so please visit the original blog post if you'd like to leave one! :)
I started this post with the intention of writing about CLUE reports, and I will be writing about CLUE, but I will also be writing about much more than CLUE. As I started researching CLUE reports, I discovered a whole lot about a lot of “special reports” that are all about me (and you!).
First, what is CLUE? CLUE is the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange; it tracks insurance-claim histories of both people and properties. Let me say that again… A CLUE report is made up of information about insurance claims that you have personally made (car or home), and there is also a CLUE report which is made of information about insurance claims made on your insured property, i.e. your house. Before we discuss your personal CLUE report, let’s talk about the CLUE report for your house and the report for the house you might like to buy.
I just pulled the CLUE report for my own house and I am a little disappointed to see the $7000 claim which my husband and I filed 4 years -11 months ago years ago. We had been in away, working on some family business, and we arrived home late that Sunday evening to find part of the living room ceiling caving in and a swampy mess in our bedroom. Apparently, when the house was built, the plumber failed to change the fittings under the sink after the final plumbing inspection was completed. This meant that two non-cooperative metals were together for 15 years and finally the fitting corroded, the pipe broke, the water poured out, and we had a mess on our hands. We had the other bathrooms checked, and, indeed, the other upstairs bath plumbing was an accident waiting to happen. We corrected it, of course, and all was well. Except…
This claim for damage, particularly water damage, might impact our ability to get affordable insurance if we needed to change insurers. More importantly, it could impact our ability to sell our home.
It’s time we agents, representing buyers, make it a part of our contracts that the seller provides a CLUE report for the property and that the contract will be contingent on approval by the buyers’ insurance company. Insurance companies cannot require the CLUE report for a property until after settlement. However, they have structured their agreement with clients to allow them to change the terms of the insurance policy immediately, if the CLUE report shows significant claim activity, either increasing the rate (possibly beyond what the buyer can afford) or cancelling the coverage altogether. The terms of a buyer’s mortgage insist that the property will be insured, so failure to find suitable insurance could potentially result in foreclosure. What a mess. (Read about this in depth, including a couple of horror stories, at the Bankrate.com article, New Warning for Buyers: Get a CLUE, written by Paul Bannister.)
Now for the rest of the story….
From Privacy Rights Clearinghourse, What You Should Know about "Specialty" Reports, you can learn all about the special reports that are available to employers, insurers, landlords:
“Will you be a good employee? Are you likely to wreck your car? Is your checking account frequently overdrawn? Are you in poor health? Will you default on your mortgage? Does your home have water damage? Will you trash the apartment or vacate with rent unpaid?
These are some of the unspoken questions asked by employers, landlords, creditors, insurers and banks as you – the consumer – make your way through the normal affairs of adult life. To the company that may give you a job, write an insurance policy, or rent you an apartment, you represent a risk – the unknown – and companies feel a need to assess their “risk” in dealing with you. Of course, you won’t be asked these questions outright, but those who want to rate your “risk level” are turning more than ever to specialized “consumer reports” to find out more about you.
Companies that compile reports on consumers for other than credit have been designated by Congress as “nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies.” These agencies compile reports about much more than just your credit history. Here are a few examples of the types of reports that they compile:
Medical conditions (for example, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) report)
Residential or tenant history and evictions (for example, RentBureau)
Check writing history (for example, ChexSystems)
Employment background checks (for example, LexisNexis Screening Solutions)
Homeowner and auto insurance claims (for example, CLUE reports)"
I am not looking for a new job, I haven’t written bad checks, and I don’t believe my medical history would concern anyone, but I still want to know what all of these various reports have to say about me. Every person is entitled to these reports annually, for free. Lexis-Nexis collects a lot of this information and offers many of these reports. Learn more about your Full File Disclosure Report here. (You will need to register at the site.) Others, you can find at the links above.
It’s important that you know the information in these reports. You have rights, and you should make sure that the information is accurate. The gatherers of information, as well as the reporting agencies, are required under terms of the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) to correct any information that is incorrectly reported.
Virginia Gardner, CRS
I am a licensed Realtor in the State of Virginia who specializes in Charlottesville, Virginia - area homes. I work a lot in the City of Charlottesvile, and I focus on Albemarle County real estate. I am considered the specialist for Earlysville area real estate by many. I also keep on top of the market in the Greene County and Fluvanna County communities.
If you are looking for an outstanding agent, please email me or call/text me, 434-981-0871.
I look forward to assisting you with all your real estate needs.