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Get a CLUE before you buy that house, and know its damage secrets

That gorgeous brownstone or country estate you’ve been looking for forever is finally in your sights. How can you be sure it doesn’t have hidden damage?

You can know the roof’s weather history by plugging any address into the WeatherCheck search box, for free. Please don’t buy a house without checking.

You can also get a CLUE, or report using another free tool that lists insurance losses on a property going back seven years.
Most home insurance companies contribute claims history information to a database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE. Underwriters use the information in a CLUE report to rate insurance policies.

They use it to check out your claim filing history, to make sure you’re not a serial filer of fraudulent claims. When your agent gets back a clean CLUE report on you, it can help getting your a great rate with a great insurer.

A free CLUE report can be obtained once a year from database giant LexisNexis. Requests can be made online or by calling (866) 312-8076.

Here’s the catch for a homebuyer: Only the owner of a property may access its CLUE report. Request the CLUE report from the seller. Savvy sellers get them before the home goes up for sale.

Even a homeowner who’s not in the market to sell may want to get a CLUE report — to check for any inaccuracies.
Your home’s CLUE report is one of many pieces of information that an insurer might consider when setting your rates. If there are mistakes about your claims history, you’ll want to correct those, just like you would mistakes on a credit report.

Does your property have hidden weather damage?

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