Homeowner’s insurance protects your home and belongings in the event of damage or theft. Filing insurance claims is necessary after events like severe weather, fires, or break-ins since repairs and replacements are expensive.
After filing a claim, an insurance adjuster investigates and determines whether your claim is covered under your policy. You’ll then receive a settlement from the insurance company to cover the cost of repairs or replacement, minus your deductible. Insurance companies use claims history to determine premiums when you renew your policy. Therefore, it’s important to know how long claims stay on your record and their impact on your rates.
How Long Do Home Insurance Claims Stay On Your Record?
The majority of home insurance claims stay on your record for five to seven years. However, the length of time varies depending on your insurance company and state laws. Some companies consider claims filed within the past three years when determining premiums. Others consider claims of up to 10 years. After that, claims are removed from your record.
What’s Considered a Home Insurance Claim?
For insurance purposes, a claim is defined as any incident where you’ve received payment from your insurance company. This includes claims filed by you or another party, such as a guest who was injured at your home.
Home insurance policies cover various events, but not every incident will result in a claim. For example, if your house sustains minor damage from a storm, you don’t need to file a claim. Your insurance company can cancel your policy when you file many small claims. They deem you a high-risk customer since there’s a greater chance of more claims in the future. In this case, paying for the repairs out of pocket would be more beneficial.
You should contact your insurance company after an incident to determine if you need to file a claim. The company can help you assess the damage and determine if it’s worth filing a claim.
How Insurance Companies Use Claims History
Insurance companies use your claims history and other factors like credit score and location when determining rates. They look at several factors to decide whether or not you’re a high-risk customer, which includes:
- The number of Claims Filed. Multiple claims can lead to a policy non-renewal or a rate increase when you renew. Insurers view numerous claims as a red flag that you’re a high-risk customer more likely to file future claims.
- Type of Filed Claims. Some companies may consider weather-related claims differently than theft or fire claims. Weather claims are out of your control, while theft or fire claims could indicate negligence.
- The severity of the Claims. A single major claim has a more significant impact than multiple small claims since it costs the insurance company more money. In addition, a large claim payout indicates substantial damage to your home, which raises concerns about future risks.
- Time Frame Between Claims. Filing multiple claims in a short period raises concerns about the upkeep of your home and whether you’re taking proper precautions to prevent future damages. While claims remain on your record for years, they have a smaller impact on your rates the longer they occur. The more recent the claim, the greater impact it will have on your rates.
Insurance companies understand that people experience one-time events that cause them to file a claim, such as severe weather. However, most don’t let these isolated incidents impact your premiums long-term if you don’t have a pattern of filing similar claims.
Where to Find Your Claims History
Your home insurance claims history is part of your insurance record, also known as the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report. Your CLUE report includes personal information like your name, address, and Social Security number. It also includes information about your claims history, such as the date, type, and amount of each claim.
You can request a free copy of your CLUE report from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA allows you to get one free report from the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) every 12 months.
To request your report, visit the FCRA website and select ‘Order My Report.’ You’ll provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you’ll also need to answer questions about your credit history. Once you’ve submitted your request, the credit reporting agency will send you a copy of your report within 15 days.
What to Do If You Disagree With Your Claims History
If you find errors in your CLUE report, there are a few steps you can take to have them corrected. LexisNexis, the company that manages CLUE reports, has a dispute process to handle these cases.
You’ll provide your name, address, Social Security number, and the policy number for the home insurance policy in question. Also, explain why you’re disputing the information on your report.
Once LexisNexis receives your dispute, they’ll investigate and determine if the information is inaccurate. Then, they contact your insurance company to verify the claim information. If they find the information inaccurate, they’ll make the necessary corrections to your report.
Consider contacting your insurance company to discuss the errors in your report. Your insurer will provide clarification about the claims listed on your report. In some cases, they provide documentation to support their position.
How to Improve Your Claims History
There are a few things you can do to improve your claims history. They include:
- Pay Your Premiums on Time. Late or missed payments lead to policy cancellation, which will be reflected in your claims history.
- Avoid Filing Small Claims. If the cost of repairs is less than your deductible, it’s best to pay out of pocket. Filing multiple small claims leads to policy non-renewal or a rate increase.
- Choose a Higher Deductible. With a higher deductible, you’ll pay more out of pocket when you file a claim but also get lower premiums.
- Keep Your Home in Good Repair. Taking care of routine maintenance and making timely repairs help prevent damage and the need to file a claim.
- Take Precautions To Prevent Theft and Vandalism. Install security features like deadbolts, security systems, and motion-sensor lights.
- Make Sure Your Home Is Hurricane-resistant. Take steps to protect your home if you live in an area prone to hurricanes. For example, install hurricane shutters or impact-resistant windows and doors and reinforce your roof.
- Bundle Your Home and Auto Insurance. Most insurance companies will offer discounts if you bundle your home and auto insurance.
- Get Quotes From Multiple Insurers. Rates vary widely from one insurer to the next. Getting quotes from multiple insurers is the best way to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
How Can You Get a Home Insurance Claim Removed From Your Record?
If you’ve filed a home insurance claim and it’s showing up on your claims history, there’s not much you can do to have it removed. Claims stay on your CLUE report for up to seven years. However, you can dispute the claim with the credit reporting agency if it was filed in error. So if you’re concerned about your claims history, the best thing you can do is take steps to prevent claims.
Keep Your Claims History Low to Save on Insurance
Your home insurance claims history records the claims you’ve filed on your home insurance policy. This history is part of your insurance record, which determines your premiums. Keeping your claims history in good standing is essential to avoid non-renewal or a rate hike. You can get a free copy of your CLUE report from the FCRA website. If you find errors in your report, dispute them with the credit reporting agency. To improve your claims history, avoid filing small claims, and take steps to prevent damage to your home.