One Very Important Thing You Must Know About Selling Your Home
Selling your home can be quite a process. Between realtors, open houses, legal documents, and preparing the house, it can seem like a daunting task. One important step that often surfaces at the last-minute is obtaining the claims history of your home.
Many realtors refer to this as a C.L.U.E (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report, or a letter from the insurance company (referred to in insurance terms as a Letter of Experience). The C.L.U.E. report is based from the central reporting board that the insurance companies use to indicate if someone has filed a claim, what has paid out, what coverage paid out, and when. It is the same report the insurance companies will utilize when verifying a new policy to determine loss risk. Typically 5 years of history is what is required for the home, so that the buyers can see details of claims (if any) on the home in that timeframe.
Often home sellers are either not given adequate notice to obtain this information, or it gets set aside until the very last day that it is required. This can cause big problems. Unfortunately obtaining this information is not as simple as just calling the insurance carrier for it, as insurance companies do not release C.L.U.E. reports – the only information they can provide is a Letter of Experience. Why is this process not as simple as it appears? This list will help clarify:
- A Letter of Experience is not always available the same day it is requested. Every insurance company operates differently, but these letters must fit into compliance, appear on the insurance company’s letterhead, and also provide details regarding your insurance experience. As a result, it can take upwards of 7 – 10 business days (in some cases, more!) to obtain this letter.
- You may not have carried the same home insurance for the past five years. If this applies to you, this means you must obtain a Letter of Experience from each carrier you’ve had in the past five years. A Letter of Experience will only provide claims history for the length of time you’ve been with that specific carrier.
- Insurance companies do not release C.L.U.E. reports directly to insureds. These reports are paid for by the insurance carrier and are only meant for their records. This information cannot be printed and sent to an insured for this reason.
What do I do? Knowing all of this, there are ways to expedite the process:
- The best and fastest way to obtain the claims history for a property is to go to https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/. This is the website of the reporting board that the insurance companies use. You can order a copy of the report, which can be sent to you immediately. You can order online, by phone, or by mail.
- If you absolutely cannot use the LexisNexis as a resource, you’ll want to give your insurance company/companies significant notice to obtain the requested letters for you. Three weeks is the best timeframe, although you still run the chance of an underwriting snag or two.