The previous owner of your home once filed an insurance claim. Did you know that could cause you to pay more for your homeowners policy? 

Only 17% of Americans know that insurance companies can penalize a new homeowner for the prior owner’s claims, according to an survey. 

What’s more, your car and homeowners insurance rates can rise even if prior claims were denied. In fact, your cost can spike merely because a claim was discussed with an insurance agent, even though no claim was ever filed. Nearly 84% of those surveyed didn’t know this either. 

And everyone considers it unfair. 

Too bad.

Claims, including those that were denied or merely discussed, are stored for seven years in the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) database. And all insurance carriers have access to the CLUE reports.

If you’re a prospective home buyer, ask the seller for a copy of the property’s CLUE report before making an offer. (Fewer than 10% of homeowners do this.)

Also, if you are thinking of calling your insurance agent to see if a claim might be covered, read your policy first to see if the answer is there. Remember: Calling is the same as claiming.