John's Florida Real Estate Blog

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Have You Checked Your Credit History? How About Your Car Insurance History?

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

CENTURY 21

Bill Nye Realty, Inc.

813-783-4444

Licensed in Florida

 

Comment balloon 23 commentsJohn Elwell • September 20 2007 07:55PM

Comments

I will check from time to time with the car insurance and nobody can touch what I have with my insurance company. But what is most important is my agent is there for me no matter what. I just send an email and I will either get an email back or a phone call.

But you are right, one must stay on top of what they have all of the time. Keep checking.

Posted by Susan Trombley, Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs (Trombley Real Estate) over 11 years ago
I agree. But see if they can change something at Choice Point. My friend is a friend of his agent, and was unable to do anything. They throw it all onto the innocent party. You would think a phone call or a fax from the reporting insurance company saying "We are sorry. We made a mistake on claim number 123456 and it should read this way. End of story. Nothing is ever that easy anymore.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
You posted twice...just an FYI - the AR G*d's will remind U. Good post though.
Posted by Karen Monsour, REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert! (Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach) over 11 years ago
Sorry, computer burped. Thanks for letting me know.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Hi John - it would never have occurred to me to check my car insurance history.  Wow!  Who knew? 

Thanks for sharing this info - I'll definitely be checking mine out.

Ann

Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) over 11 years ago

What a royal pain in the rear that is! I am not totally surprised! These things are a hassle!

I reported fraud charges on my new credit card (2 small items, both under $50. ) and the credit card company canceled my card!!!! I did get a credit for the two charges that were not mine but was amazed when they canceled the card!!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 11 years ago
Ann It does pay to be careful nowadays. I had no idea that this information existed about me since I had never had an accident. Barbara Jo and Bill Isn't a mess to clear these things up? I feel like I was the one that made the mistake. My opinion is that they should do all they could to correct things. Apparently they do as little as possible.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
Wow, I am surprised to hear that something like this is happening.  Thank you for sharing your story.
Posted by Cynthia Sloop (Community Association Manager) over 11 years ago
Cynthia Surprised me too!
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
I'm not surprised...With insurance someone is always finding a way to screw things up..
Posted by Shari George (Coldwell Banker Tomlinson) over 11 years ago
You betcha!
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Shari - I'm not surprised...With insurance someone is always finding a way to screw things up..

No No.  With insurance, the insurance companies are always finding a way to screw you! 

Have you all heard that now the insurance companies are now looking at your credit history to determine your insurance rate?  The insurance companies have now come up with something they refer to as your 'insurance score'.  Buncha crooks. 

If you have a bona fide event that occurs within the bounds of the actuarial data that they use to design their rate structure, why should one event become a negative qualifier against you?  That kinda becomes like 'pay per click' doesn't it?  I can understand it if you show a poor track record that might indicate you are part of the problem.  But one fender bender should not allow them to start charging you more.  That defeats the whole definition of 'insurance'. 

Posted by Dwight Wolfe (Emerald Coast Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
Wow, this is just silly that you are the innocent victim in this situation and you have to take your time to clear up the errors now. Hope you get it straightened out.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 11 years ago
It is amazing what pops up in unexpected places.  The consequences of saying "that's not how it is done" is pure flim flam.  This could be construed as slander when it has a financial impact.  I wonder how many other records are wrong in this reporting agencies data base?  It took me weeks to be taken off a dead beat dad's data base once.  They did not have any children or had I ever been in the county....but my name and another's were the same and a processor going through a data collection company picked up my name and address by mistake.  I would have never known if it had not been for the girl I was dating at the time did a background check on me!  He wasn't very happy and told his daughter who dropped me like a hot potato!
Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") over 11 years ago

Great Post! Thanks for sharing with us.

keep'em coming.

Posted by Armando Rodriguez, Orlando Homes 4 Sale, Real Estate Broker-GRI (QUEST REALTY SERVICES) over 11 years ago

John,

Who would've thought? 

Is there any way for a consumer to check their own record, or do they have to go through an insurance agent? 

This is very good information.  Thank you.

John

Posted by John Dye (Terapak Realty & Management) over 11 years ago
Even more important to our industry is that insurance companies can check on your claim filing history on your home owners insurance. As a realtor you can get a Clue report on an individual or you can get a report on a property address, to see what kind of claims have been made regarding that property. thanks
Posted by wayne sheldon (Paradise Cove Properties) over 11 years ago

This surely is good to know, great info! You're right, most people would not have any idea about this!

Thanks,

Faith LaRosse

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) over 11 years ago

Hi,

It looks like you can check up on your own CLUE report through Choice Point online.  I believe it is free. 

http://www.choicetrust.com/

Mine looks okay.  Thanks again for the heads-up, John.

John M. Dye

Posted by John Dye (Terapak Realty & Management) over 11 years ago

John I just went to the site you listed above http://www.choicetrust.com and it does work. You have to give them some information and you can get a free report. It does show that the vehicle operator was me, which is completely wrong. So now I have to work to correct it. But at least there is a simple way for people to check. Thanks for the link.

Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago
John - sorry to hear all the trouble and time you have to go through. It is a shame that when a company makes a mistake, we have to take the time to prove them wrong.
Posted by Chuck Dellorto, "Talk To Chuck" (Coldwell Banker - Serving INDIANA & ILLINOIS) over 11 years ago
That is very surprising to hear. Great post and thanks for sharing!
Posted by Dan Coates (American Homes Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Thanks Dan. Yep, I was surprised too. You never know what information is lurking on someone's computer that could affect your life somehow.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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