Local News

Sep 26, 2013 5:30 PM by Janine Reyes

Buyer Beware: Checking A Home's Insurance Claim History

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Buying a house is one of the biggest investments of your life, and if the seller does not disclose problems, how would you ever find out?

Turns out, there's a report that may hold those answers and not everyone knows about it.

That report is called a CLUE report, it stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, and its kind of like a Carfax for your home.

Insurance agencies pull CLUE reports to find out what claims a person has filed for losses and that includes losses filed on properties.

Learning about this report after purchasing a home ended up being a lesson that cost one man more than a $100,000.

Larry Wilson's $361,000 home on the island was supposed to be a family get away.

Instead, shortly after buying the home, his insurance agent told him about a report called the CLUE.

"It was one line on each page, one line," said Wilson, describing the report.

Although short on details, the clue eventually led him to a big cover up.

"The totals were somewhere right in the $38,000

Tens of thousands of dollars the prior owners collected from insurance for mold and fungi damage. It's all repairs Wilson says the prior owners never did. Repairs he started making right after he bought the house.

"We chased leaks around until I finally had Baldwin roofing come out," Wilson said, "I decided to tear the roof off and replace it for $29,000."

He spent more than $150,000 repairing the home, thousands more on attorneys getting his money back.

But he says he's learned an expensive and priceless lesson about that CLUE report.

"People tend to not turn in claims unless they're worth it because of deductibles but on a large claim like these were, where it's turned over to a mold unit and everything, people will file claims and it will be on a CLUE report," Wilson said.

By the way, Wilson says he had his home inspected before he purchased it.

The inspection report didn't state any major problems with the house.

The clue report can only be pulled by the actual home owner. So, what you can do if you're interested in buying a house, is ask that the seller get the report for you and make your purchase contingent on a clean history, or to include proven repairs.

CLUE reports are not always accurate and that's another reason it's important to pull one, if its not accurate, you'll want to let your insurance know so your deductible doesn't go up.

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