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After you file an auto insurance claim, the claim will become an official entry on your claims record.
It doesn’t matter if the claim was settled for $200 or what type of claim it was, the claim is notated in your personal driving record so that insurers can use the information reported for underwriting purposes.
Once the record is made, only the insurer that submitted it can make changes.
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You might wonder why having access to past claims records would matter. After all, those claims have been long settled and they are in the past. Unfortunately, claims that have happened in the last few years are very relevant.
If insurers didn’t share claims information, there’d be no way to efficiently and effectively assess risk and set rates. Here’s what you need to know about checking your claims record:
Why do insurers look at your claims history?
Insurance companies can’t just set your personal rates based on application statements that you’ve made. If anyone is biased about their driving skill, it’s the driver who’s applying for a product that’s price is strongly based on how skilled they are.
When you’re getting quotes, agents will give you the rate without questioning what you have to say. It’s when you’re actually applying for a policy that things must be verified.
Since insurers can’t reasonably follow drivers around to see if they’re really driving responsibly, the solution is to base risk and rates off of the driver’s past.
By having access to your claims record, even if you’ve filed a claim with an entirely different company, the carrier can put you in the right risk group.
How do your past claims affect your future insurance rates?
If you’ve never had an accident or been in a situation where you’ve needed to file a damage claim, you don’t have to worry one bit about your own claims history.
If it’s clean, your claims history being used to assess risk will only work to your advantage. It’s when there’s a record on your report that you have to wonder how it’ll have an impact.
Your claims history will be used in two different ways when determining your final policy rate. The first way that it’s used is to help see if you qualify for a certain rate class.
If your history shows you’ve had at-fault claims or you’ve been convicted of infractions, you won’t qualify for the lowest-priced risk class. If all of your claims are old, you may be a low-risk preferred driver.
Your risk class will affect your rates, but so will the surcharges that are applied for each claim and each ticket. The surcharge is the penalty that’s applied to your premium.
It’s a percentage of your premiums and the percentage is dependent on how serious the infraction is or if there was injury after the accident. An insurer has the right to surcharge you for claims you’ve filed with any insurer.
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How long are claims classified as surchargeable?
You might need to think back way into the past to remember an accident you’ve had. If you’re sure that all of the crashes and claims you’ve filed are older than three years ago, you don’t have to worry about reporting them.
Accident claims can only affect your premiums for 36 months. After that period ends, a surcharge applied to the premium will fall off.
Can you contact your insurer if you don’t remember how long it’s been?
Some drivers prefer to forget about the accidents that they’ve had. If you don’t remember when your accident occurred or you’re bad with time, you can pick up the phone and contact your insurer to find out what you need to know.
All insurance carriers keep a detailed record of the claims that have been filed for up to seven years after they’re closed.
To get the information directly from your insurer, you need to know which insurer you were with at the time that you filed your claim.
If you’ve only been with one company for the last few years or you are confident that the claim was filed through a specific carrier, call the customer service number, give them your name or policy number, and ask for information about the claim.
Why is my insurer asking for a Letter of Experience?
If you’re in the application or underwriting phase of getting insurance, the agent may call you and ask you for a Letter of Experience.
A Letter of Experience is a document that shows detailed information about your policy with a company and the claims they have investigated and settled. The letter can be mailed or faxed to you.
Insurance companies don’t always ask for these documents because most information can be accessed by pulling a Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange report.
The main reason that a carrier would be asking for the letter is because there’s not detailed information on your CLUE report or because you’ve claimed that the report is not accurate and you’ve never had the loss. Letters often prove how long you’ve been with an insurer.
What does the Letter of Experience include?
A Letter of Experience can only be filled out and provided by your insurance agent. It must be printed on company paper and signed by the authorized representative.
It also must contain all of the information that the carrier needs to remove a claims surcharge so that you can keep your rates low. Here’s what the letter includes:
- Named insured on the policy
- Policy number
- Current status of the policy
- Inception date of the policy
- Termination date of the policy
- Date of the claim
- Type of claim being filed
- Fault determination
- Driver who was operating the vehicle
- Total payout for each coverage
- Injuries claimed
- Active or closed
Is there another way to get request information on your claims history?
If you don’t want to contact your insurer or the company has shut down, the other alternative would be to order your Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange report direct through LexisNexis.
This is the same type of report that any company that you apply for coverage through will run when underwriting your application.
Ordering your C.L.U.E. report on your own doesn’t cost money and it can be helpful. If you’re applying for a job and you have to disclose accidents, you might need this information so you know you’re being as honest as possible.
After all, recruiters prefer that their applicants disclose information. If you don’t, it might look as if you’re being dishonest.
How do you order your Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange report?
Ordering your report is easy. You can visit the company’s website to order your free report or you can call the toll-free number to order by phone. You will have 30-day access to your report online or you’ll receive a paper report at your request.
If you think something isn’t accurate, you can dispute a record on the report through LexisNexis.
It’s easiest to check your claims history through your insurer. If you can’t do that, it’s best to contact LexisNexis for your own personal report. Have this information handy when you are getting auto quotes for a new policy.
By having the dates on hand, you can get the most accurate quotes for coverage.
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Make sure that you enter your information accurately without leaving out details and you can choose the lowest cost quotes without having to worry about rate increases.