claims-liability

Insurance Claims History on a House

Homeowners insurance claims typically stay on a national property claim database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) for five to seven years. Every time you file a claim, your insurance company reports the case to either CLUE or A-PLUS (Automated Property Loss Underwriting System), the other major claims database. 

As you probably know, your claims history matters when you switch insurance companies or take out a new policy. Every insurer will scope out your recent claims history to help price your policy.

Homeowners insurance claims usually stay on your record for five to seven years.

How Your Claims History Impacts Your Homeowners Insurance Rates

The more claims you have on your record, the harder it may be to find affordable, reliable coverage. That’s because many insurance companies raise rates or limit coverage if your home has a history of recent losses. 

Your insurance company may also refuse to renew your policy after a spate of claims. 

That’s why it’s wise to use caution before you file a claim – you don’t want to inadvertently file a lot of small claims that drive up your policy cost or make you uninsurable in the future. In general, try to only file a claim when it’s at least two to three times higher than your deductible. 

It’s also smart to take steps to prevent claims from happening. In fact, many companies offer discounts for some risk management measures.

Which Homeowners Insurance Claims Increase Rates the Most?

Some claims impact your rates more than others. The following types of claims have the most impact on your premium or coverage eligibility because homeowners can usually take some steps to reduce the chance of these losses: 

  • Water damage. Think burst pipes, leaky faucets, or flooded appliances. These claims are largely viewed as preventable, and therefore may impact your more.
  • Liability. If someone falls in your home or is hurt in your swimming pool, that claim may drive up the cost of your insurance.
  • Fires. These tend to be the most expensive claims, averaging $68,322, which is why fire claims might have more impact on your record. 
  • Theft. Too many break-ins may signal to an insurance company that you aren’t taking steps to secure your property.
  • Dog bites. All dogs are good dogs, but a dog with a bite history may increase your premium or not be covered by your policy.

The following claims (also called catastrophic claims) may have less of an impact on your coverage eligibility. That’s because these claims are weather dependent, and insurance companies acknowledge homeowners can’t control the weather:

How Many Homeowners Claims Is Too Many?

Generally, if you haven’t filed more than one non-catastrophic loss claim in three years, and have no liability losses in three years, you may still be eligible for coverage.

Two claims in five years may drive up the cost of your coverage. More than two claims in a five-year period may make it difficult to find coverage.

Where to Find Your Claims History

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can request one free copy of your loss history report from CLUE per year. In addition to your name, home address, and Social Security number, the report includes:

  • The report reference number 
  • The name of your insurance company
  • The type and number of the insurance policy
  • The type of loss that triggered the claim: fire, theft, etc.
  • The claim number
  • The date of the loss
  • The amount of each claim
  • The status of each claim: closed, pending, etc.
  • Damage reports that were closed due to owner repair (depending on the state)

Worth noting: your CLUE report is tied to your home’s address. So even if you haven’t filed a claim, the previous owner’s claims may appear on the home’s loss history. That’s why it’s important to ask for this report before you purchase a home

You can also request your property loss report from A-PLUS, which does charge for the report unless an insurer turned you down because of A-PLUS data. 

That’s true for CLUE, too – any time an insurer refuses to insure your home because of its report, you can get a free copy of it. 

How to Dispute Your Claims Report

So let’s say you think your claims report might have an error. You can take two routes to dispute your CLUE report:

  1. You can submit an explanation of the loss that will appear on all future reports (the loss will still appear on your report).
  2. You can dispute incorrect information and try to get it removed from your report.

For either option, your first step is to contact LexisNexis

If you want to submit an explanation, prepare a statement about the loss in 100 words or fewer to include in future reports. The report will be updated with your statement within 30 days.

For a dispute, you’ll need to include:

  • Your CLUE report reference number
  • The claim number and name of the insurance company that handled the loss
  • A short account of the error

LexisNexis will reach out to your insurance company to verify your account. If the insurance company rejects your dispute, the loss will remain on your record. 

To learn more about claims, visit our Claims Center.

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