Several years ago Kelly and I were trading in our 2005 Honda Odyssey. It wasn’t new when we purchased it, maybe a year or so old. I remember the car salesman asking if it had ever been involved in an accident. Not once, I said. He came back with a CarFax report that showed two accidents prior to us taking ownership. I was a bit irritated, and embarrassed. I was irritated because where was this CarFax when we purchased the van? It would have been nice to know we were purchasing a vehicle that had been in 2 previous accidents.
A car purchase can be anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to upwards of $40,000. If only they had such a report when we’re spending over a hundred thousand dollars on a home.
A homeowners insurance quote runs a soft credit hit on us as the potential customer, and also a report showing any claims we might have made in the past. Usually over the previous 5 years.
However, it also shows claims made on the address we’re looking to insure. That’s right. It’s a homeowners insurance CarFax report. Not really, but it works just the same.
This claim history report (also known as a C.L.U.E. Report) shows a generic description of what caused the claim (i.e. fire, wind, physical damage, water, etc). It doesn’t give anything detailed, but it does give dates and the amount of damage.
A friend of mine was purchasing a home and called me for a quote. During this process we learned of a fire claim that caused over $20,000 in damage. Wouldn’t that be nice to know before we purchased a home? Turns out, the rafters were charred. Still.
That tells me the damage wasn’t fully repaired. A claim check was handed to the homeowner, but apparently they didn’t get it fully restored. This is valuable information. He’s about to spend $125,000 on this house and would probably greatly appreciate something like a CarFax report.
This claim history report is not necessarily to inform the potential customer of previous claims. But it works just the same. And it’s free, unlike a CarFax, which is $40.
The problem we might run into is finding an agent willing to give us this information. I’m sure there are many out there who will, but I could see someone wanting to know they’ll get the policy if they’re going to run a quote and pass the claim history on to us.
If you’re a new home buyer and don’t have a current insurance agent, ask for a referral from a friend of family member. It would be much easier to call the agent and say “My dad told me to call you for a quote. Can you also tell me if any claims have been made on this house?”
Anything to that affect should get you the information needed.
If you have trouble getting a good referral or you can’t get a referral at all, call our office. Folks at The Gann Agency would not only be glad to get you a quote, but we would be glad to help you make an informed decision when buying a house.
One more piece of advice; don’t get too attached to a potential home purchase before you get an insurance quote. There is so much to be discovered about a home through a simple homeowners insurance quote. So much that can cost you money, or save you money.