Car insurance companies don’t like guessing games. When you ask for a quote, they want to know who you are and what you’ve been up to. Fortunately for insurers, there are a lot of companies willing to help them.
Here are the most common reports used by car insurance companies to help determine whether they want to insure you and at what price. Some reports you can get yourself, and others you’ll never see.
1. Insurance score
Your credit history is important to car insurance companies because it’s a predictor of how likely you are to pay on time and make a claim. There are exceptions: If you live in California, Hawaii or Massachusetts, auto insurers can’t use credit information to set rates.
A credit score typically takes into account your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit.
Insurers often pull a report called a FICO insurance score. You can’t get your own insurance score, but your credit score generally mirrors your insurance score as it moves up or down. Therefore, monitoring your credit is important, because bad credit can bump you to a more expensive rate class for insurance.
Sites like WisePiggy.com (a sister site of CarInsurance.com) offer free credit score reports so that you can monitor your status.
2. Attract score
Another credit-based score comes from LexisNexis, a provider of risk and data information services. This is called the Attract Insurance Score and helps insurers judge your risk. Unlike a FICO insurance score, you can get your own Attract score from LexisNexis for a modest cost.
3. Disclosure report
Did you give 100 percent accurate information to your car insurance company? If not, it will find out. LexisNexis offers insurers a report called RiskView that promises to provide a comprehensive view into a person’s financial health. Not only does it determine your creditworthiness, but the report also confirms some of the information you have provided.
You can order this report from LexisNexis. It will include a RiskView Consumer Disclosure Report that contains public record information, including:
- Personal identifying information
- Property ownership
- Deed ownership
- Bankruptcy history
- Criminal and lien data
4. Claims history
There’s no hiding past claims against you, even if you’ve never told a single soul about an accident.
Car insurance companies feed claims information into central databases. From this massive collection of information, insurers can request a loss report on an individual. Auto insurers regard your past claims activity as a predictor of future claims.
LexisNexis offers the C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) report, which contains up to seven years of personal auto claims including your policy information, vehicle information, claim information, loss information and amounts paid.
Verisk, provider of services to insurers, offers a similar report called the A-Plus (Automobile-Property Loss Underwriting Service). You can order your own free copy once within a 12-month period from either provider.
5. Motor vehicle record
You may not remember the when or where of your traffic violations, but these details are pretty important to car insurance carriers. To double-check the information you provided when asking for a car insurance quote, insurers obtain motor vehicle reports (MVRs) so that they can assess your driving.
Car insurance companies use third-party providers, such as Verisk or LexisNexis, which have access to driving records from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, to obtain your driving record. You, however, can go straight to the source, your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and request a copy of your official record. A small fee is typically required.
6. Undisclosed-driver report
Maybe your nephew moved in and has been driving your car. Maybe you never mentioned it to your insurance company. Well it’s only a matter of time before they catch up to you.
Car insurance companies want to know about all household members who are licensed drivers and potentially driving your car.
Both Verisk and LexisNexis offer insurance companies reports that uncover “hidden” or “undisclosed” drivers living in your residence by cross-checking public records. One report keys in on young drivers between the ages of 15 and 25 who are newly licensed but haven’t been disclosed. If a “hidden” driver of any age is found you’ll likely be asked to add the person as a driver or exclude the individual if your state and insurer allow this option.
7. Current carrier report
When you’re applying for auto coverage, a prospective car insurance company can find out how long you’ve been with your current carrier or if you’ve had a lapse in coverage. They access a report that identifies and verifies your current and previous insurance providers.
The report also outlines current and previous policy information including:
- Policy period
- Policy status
- Cancellations, lapses and reinstatements
- Driver information
- Vehicle information
- Insurance discounts
8. Mileage report
The number of miles you drive makes a difference in how much you pay. To keep drivers from underestimating their annual mileage, insurance companies can use reports such as Verisk’s MileageConfirm to verify mileage given by applicants or policyholders. The report provides details such as “annual mileage, commute distance and business use for accuracy, currency and legitimacy.”
See what else makes your rates go up or down with CarInsurance.com’s car insurance calculator.
9. Vehicle-registration report
Your auto insurer may know more about your car than you do after it obtains a report that checks public vehicle and registration information. A registration report is originally issued by the DMV but both Verisk and LexisNexis offer the service for insurers using the bulk data that it buys. The report normally details:
- Vehicle make, model, year, body style and VIN
- Name and address of vehicle registrant
- Name of cosigner or second owner (if applicable)
- Registration expiration date
- Plate type (regular, vanity, commercial or dealer)
- Leasing company name (if applicable)
- If the vehicle has a branded title (salvaged, rebuilt, junked, flooded, or the like)
This report gives your car insurance company insight into your lapses in registration, shared vehicle ownership, or if the vehicle has a branded title.
10. OFAC compliance
Insurance companies are mandated by the federal government to check customers' names (and those to whom they send claim settlement checks) against a list published by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This is so insurers don’t do business with people suspected of international drug trafficking, terrorism or activities related to the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Verisk offers insurance companies a service that checks customers against the OFAC watch list. A notification report is produced only if there is a match, so this is one report that insurance companies would prefer not to receive.