Monday, February 10, 2020

How important are insurance reports?

There are several different reports insurance carriers will run before thy will insure you. There are credit reports, claims history reports, payment history reports, violations reports. Home and Auto insurance carriers will both utilize these reports. This is the part where your history will affect your rates!

Can I Lie About My Driving History?

You can try, but it won't work. All carriers run your history reports before (or sometimes after) they write your policy. Most run the reports before they will bind the policy. Your reports largely determine your rates so they can be very significant in your pricing.

The CLUE report provides a 7 year history of claims associated with the driver/car. It will show the date of the loss, the type of loss, the amount paid out and the driver and car associated with the claim. Your agent can send you your CLUE report and you can dispute any claims that are on your report in error. 

The Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) provides your driving history, your drivers license history (including suspension or cancellations), your traffic violations/citations and DUI convictions. The time frame of the MVR varies by state. 

Why Home Insurance Reports?

Home insurance claims are filed less frequently than auto claims of course. They will be different than the auto reports, but what they are looking at is the same;  your claims history. 

Catastrophe claims shouldn't affect your rates too much. These include tornadoes, hurricanes, hail storms. The industry decides if it is a CAT claim once the estimated claims from the "storm" reach a certain amount. 
Water Claims will affect your rates due to the price of repairs. It does not take long for water to cause expensive damage.
Liability claims will affect your rates. It shows a concerning lack of safety and upkeep at your home. 
Negligence claims will cost you , you may have a hard time finding a carrier who will insure you at all. And again, you can lie or not disclose, but the carrier will run reports and the claims (and their circumstances) will be found. 
Frequent claims filing will cost you in premium and by minimizing the number of carriers who will insure you. If you believe a claim should be filed, wait! Call out a certified contractor and get estimates! If you file a claim and it turns out the repairs will cost less than your deductible, the carrier will NOT pay out the claim. But you will still have the claim in your history. 

Why Do Carriers Use These Reports?

Home and Auto insurance carriers use these reports to decide how great the risk is to insure you.  The greater the risk (bad history), the higher the rates. So a clean driving or claims history will earn you better rates. Most carriers will look back 5 years. 

Your claims history is very important to your rates. You can lie all you want. We have had people tell us they have not had any claims and then we find out they do. "Oh I forgot about that" seems to be the common retort.  The reports will show your history, whether you have revealed it yourself or not and it will affect your rates. So be honest with your carrier for consistent rates. Carriers rate claims and violations differently, so where one carrier may choose to not insure you, another carrier may have decent rates for you. So don't lose heart and decide insurance is a luxury you cannot afford!

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Do claims affect my premium?

   Do you get frustrated by increasing insurance rates? The truth is, costs increase each year. And insurance is included.
   Texas is the most volatile weather state in our country. We have hurricanes, hail storms, thunder storms, snow, flooding and even an occasional earthquake! Most states have one, maybe two, of these types of weather. But things are always bigger in Texas, so we have all of them. This volatile weather leads to the number one reason for insurance rate increases; Claims.
   "But I didn't file a claim!" you cry in frustration on the phone to your agent. To which your agent may reply, "But your neighbors did." And then you shake your head and think to yourself (or out loud), "So I have to pay for their claims?" Yes, yes you do.

        Why do I have to pay more?

   Insurance companies are not repairing your damages for free. They are in it to make money (like every other company out there). Insurance is big business. And like every other type of company, if a carrier has more expenses (usually claims expenses) than they budgeted for, they will have to raise their rates to cover those expenses. So if there are major hail storms in January, chances are many carriers are going to have to raise rates to pay for those claims by year's end. So even if you didn't file a claim, but others did in your area, the carrier will most likely raise premium for everyone in the area to cover costs.

I hear the carriers try to keep from paying out claims.

   Most of the carriers I have seen do try to take care of the customer in a fair and appropriate manner. Of course "fair and appropriate" means different things to different people. But what you might keep in mind is that the insurance carrier is the one taking the risk. If you had to pay someone $500,000, wouldn't you make pretty darn sure they are eligible recieve the money? I know would!
   Whether it is $5,000 or $500,000, there are rules and guidelines to paying out claims. These are supposed to guide the carriers in evaluating what claims to pay and to what extent. There are some carriers who are being sued in a class action lawsuit by the state for not paying out eligible claims. So we know there are watchdogs out there looking out for the consumer. If you have a carrier who did not take care of you for an eligible claim, I am very sorry. And I urge you to call the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) at 1-800-252-3439 and report them or file a complaint online. Make sure the company takes care of you!

Wrap Up

   * So my point here is that claims are the #1 reason premiums are increasing almost every year. There is no way around that. All insurance carriers are not evil any more than all consumers are scam artists.
   You can counteract increases by shopping around. (Another good reason to go with an independent agency!) When it is renewal time, we can re-shop the client if the premium has increased quite a bit. We don't guarantee a lower rate, but at least we can see if we can find something better for them. In today's world, there are many options available to you!

Have questions? Need a quote?    

* Call us  877-987-8683  

* Visit