Did your home take a storm hit or get some water damage? Before you pick up the phone to call in a claim, wait! Daily we receive home-owners insurance quote requests, and it never fails that some of these quote requests have prior claims. Notice, I said claims, being plural.
Often the claims are not what most people would consider a claim. What a majority of people do not realize is that if you pick up the phone to inquire about coverage to your insurance company’s claim department, that counts as a claim. We call those “$0 pay out claims.” Those claims are reported to the Lexis Nexis/CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report. Whenever you ask for a homeowners insurance quote, these claims will be on your personal report. Most major insurance companies will not offer coverage if you have 2 or more claims in a 3-year span. And yes, this even includes the “$0 pay out claims.” Some companies will non-renew you after one actual claim and most after two claims.
Most people feel it is an unfair process. But this evolved because of fraudulent claims and people using their homeowners’ policies as a maintenance program when deductibles were as low of $250 years ago. The reason that it is considered a claim, often after the call is made, the claim was called in and filed shortly after that. So that innocent call to the claims department to ask a coverage question is a red flag to the insurance company. At the Wells agency, we advise our clients to call us first if they feel that they may have a claim. There may be instances where it might be a simple repair job that is needed that may be far below their deductible. By calling us, sending over photos of the damage, sending estimates from contractors and going over different scenarios, it can save you from having a “$0 payout claim” filed on your personal CLUE record and having added frustration when you assumed you had a claim.
Some people want a claim, so they can get a new roof or upgraded kitchen or bathroom and will quickly call in a claim. Many times, roofing contractors will promise they can “get you a new roof” and will call in the claim themselves. Never let a contractor call in a claim on your behalf. Ethical contractors will tell you to call your agent first. So remember to call your agent and discuss the situation, this is the best and most logical way to handle it.