A couple of days ago I got a mailer about car insurance and how I could save money by switching to another company. I figured, why not check it out. Imagine my surprise when they told me I could not get a "good driver discount" because of an accident that I had been in. They found this on a computer database, apparently run by a company called Choice Point. This company gathers information from insurers all over the country and lets other companies see the claims records of drivers so that the underwriters can decide what to charge for insurance.
The agent told me that info from Choice Point indicated I had been driving a friend's car and backed it into MY OWN car in a parking lot back in 2005. Well, the true story is that I was at our office working on my computer that day when a colleague came in and told me that HE had backed into my car outside. The side of the car was damaged quite a bit. He is a good friend and said it was clearly his fault.
He called and reported the accident to his company, Horace Mann, and I spoke with a claims person. She arranged for an adjuster to come out and look at the car and estimate the repair costs. Two days later I had a check to cover the repairs, as well as a rental car. I got the car fixed and until the other day thought that was the end of it. If I had not just happened to call another company to check out rates, I would have had no idea that a lie was sitting on some computer in Georgia and that it was costing me money.
I spoke with Horace Mann and they said their claim form showed that my friend (also named John) WAS the driver and that I was not involved in any way, other than being the owner of the car that was hit. So somewhere between Horace Mann and Choice Point I had been put in the drivers seat. I asked Horace Mann to please call Choice Point and ask that the erroneous information be corrected. Surprise, no can do!
Apparently I must call Choice Point, make a complaint and contest the information. Then Choice Point will "investigate" and make a decision on whether to correct the information in their database. I asked them why they could not call Horace Mann or why Horace Mann could not call them and just clear this up. I was told "That is not how it is done." In the end they will get a fax from Horace Mann telling them I was not at fault and hopefully that will end it all. I HOPE!
My reason for posting this is that as real estate agents we drive a lot of miles and most of us pay higher premiums because of it. Some of you may not know that your insurance history is not accurate and is causing you to pay higher premiums. It might be worthwhile to check with your agent to see if you are getting a good driver discount or in fact, have incorrect information in the records that could be costing you money. Just like it does not hurt to make sure your credit history is A-ok, it might be a good idea to check your driving history. With the way a lot of this information is shared amongst companies, one never knows if something like this could raise homeowners insurance premiums, affect a credit score, or make you a bad risk for health insurance. You just never know how this type of information is going to be used to evaluate you as a person.
Don't you just love companies like these that make the innocent party do all the work to correct a mistake that they obviously made? And they say real estate agents have bad reputations!!!!!
PS In one of the comments John Dye has given you the link to the website where you can check your car insurance claim history for free. I just did it and sure enough the same info I stated above came up. You may want to check yours. The link is: http://www.choicetrust.com/
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida