What If My C.L.U.E. and MVR Reports Are Wrong?

March 28, 2012 7 Comments »
What If My C.L.U.E. and MVR Reports Are Wrong?

Car insurance is expensive enough for even the best drivers. Add a ticket or an accident to your record and your insurance premium only goes up from there.

But what if you have tickets and accidents on your record that aren’t actually yours? Yep, that’s right.

Just like errors on a credit report, there can be errors on your C.L.U.E. report and Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) that may cost you thousands if they go unnoticed or unresolved.

So, what can you do to “right” this “wrong?” Well, first, you must be certain they’re actually reporting in error.


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What Should Be on Your Reports?

A common misconception among insurance consumers is that a not-at-fault accident will NOT show up on your reports. This is simply not the case. Your C.L.U.E. report will return an accident whether it is your fault or not.

In fact, your insurer will likely raise your insurance premium for being in an accident that was caused by another driver and paid for by their insurance company. The thought process goes like this; you are partially at-fault for being involved in the first place.

Different states look at this differently, but there are two concepts at play here. One is “comparative negligence” and the other is “contributory negligence.” In the former, it is possible that you are negligent to a degree for the cause of your accident.

For example, someone may have been speeding and hit you from behind, but you may have been partially negligent by not signaling your turn into the grocery store, which didn’t allow the speeder enough time to slow down. In the insurance world you are partially at fault and charged accordingly.

An example of contributory negligence would be crossing the center line of traffic briefly, and as a result, being struck by a drunk driver. While the drunk driver, by all reasonability, should be the one who “pays” here, you technically contributed to the accident by making a simple mistake.

In a state that recognizes contributory negligence, you may not be able to collect for damages, because in the eyes of the law, you were partly to blame.

Of course, this ideology is going the way of the horse and buggy, as juries tend to find it as ridiculous as it sounds!

But in either of these examples, there is going to be an accident reported by C.L.U.E. and you will likely be charged for it.

Great, What About Blatant Errors?

OK. You’re not talking about an accident for which you might have been partially responsible…you’re talking about an accident for a different “Mike Smith,” who lives in a state on the other side of the country that you’ve never stepped foot in. This is certainly a different deal and needs to be corrected.

There are a few ways to correct these errors. First, you have to determine which report contains the discrepancy.

While your insurer or insurance agent will be able to tell you, just remember that motor vehicle driving infractions (i.e. speeding tickets) will show up on your MVR report and accidents will display on your C.L.U.E. report.

How to Get a Ticket Removed – MVR

We’ll start with the more difficult of the two. Your MVR history is tracked by the department of motor vehicles in your state. This means you will be contacting the appropriate state agency to dispute the finding.

You may be advised to contact your State Department of Insurance and “file a claim” to start the process of the state researching and correcting the error. If it’s not completely obvious that “they’ve got the wrong guy,” the process may be slowed. Remember, this is a governmental agency, so don’t expect anyone to knock them self out to resolve your issue.

Tip: Be patient and nice with everyone you speak to or you may end up on the merry-go-round of leaving unreturned messages on 10 different people’s voicemails. Also, it’s best to call VERY EARLY in the morning between Tuesday and Thursday, as the average person will be calling on Monday or Friday.

How to Get an Accident Removed – C.L.U.E

You may simply contact Choice Point or LexisNexis – the companies who compile this data for the C.L.U.E. report – if you feel there are errors on your report.

Either of these companies will contact the insurer on your behalf and give them up to 30 days to clear up the discrepancy. If the insurer doesn’t respond within this time frame, the accident will be removed.

Different states may have different resolution options here. You’re going to be happy if the process doesn’t involve the State Department of Insurance (see above).

The EASY WAY

Many insurers who are preparing premium quotes for you will simply accept a “Letter of Experience” from the insurer you were with at the time of the inaccurate accident. In reality, this is likely where the error occurred and the insurer should be the one helping you resolve the matter.

The Letter of Experience is simply a document prepared by the previous insurer that states you did not have an accident (or at least that particular accident) during the policy period in question.

You must call or write the previous insurer or agent and ask for the “LOE” for the policy term where the accident is reported. They’ll know what you’re talking about.

Keep in mind that your current insurer or agent may not be in too big of a hurry to help you, as it will be evident you are shopping your insurance and considering switching insurers. You may have to be persistent here.

You will also want to verify that you have not been paying a higher premium with your prior insurer as a result of these inaccurate reports. If you were, demand to get a return premium check for the difference.

If the insurer you’re trying to obtain a quote from will not accept this letter, you may just want to move on to an insurer who will. Would you want to be insured by a company that doesn’t make things as easy as possible for you?

Why Do I Have to Fix It?

Again, a fair question, and again, life ain’t fair. Insurers are often huge companies with tens of thousands, or even millions of clients, which have millions of insurance claims per year.

And just like errors on our credit report or with our personal banking accounts, we’re the ones on the hook to prove ourselves right…and the “almighty reports” wrong. The odds are stacked against us.

As discussed above, you may simply contact the insurer you were with when the report in question was prepared. It’s likely their “fault.” Keep in mind you are already paying them in the form of premium, so the least they can do is resolve errors they may have made regarding your driving records.

You certainly shouldn’t expect the insurer preparing your new insurance quotes to help you. There is no guarantee you are going to purchase a policy from them, so why would they spend time (i.e. money) helping you get your house in order?

There is also a little bit of built in protection against insurance fraud here. While you may be the most honest person on the planet, there are plenty of people out there who aren’t and are looking to cut their insurance costs any way possible, including lying about their previous driving history.

Everyone and their grandmother would be disputing claims if an insurer was responsible for figuring it all out. Insurers all over the U.S. would have to hire thousands of people (this is a multi-billion dollar industry) to play detective in claims history disputes, many of which would be bogus.

So if you think insurance is expensive now…imagine what it would cost if the expense of thousands of additional employees were brought on to resolve these matters. Remember, profit margins are already set; any additional operating expense is passed on directly to us as insured.

Why Does This Happen and How Often?

TTAI is not aware of any particular statistic that shows how often errors occur on these reports, but they certainly happen and they are not particularly rare.

Insurance agents typically claim that it doesn’t happen all too often, which is of no solace to you if you’re reading this post. You can blame your fellow man and technology for the errors.

The information contained in these reports is keyed into a computer by a person at some point. People make mistakes every day. Chalk it up to modern life, where you’re a faceless account number in a giant computer system.

Finally, consider the fact that there are millions of insurance claims each year and you won’t be shocked that errors such as these occur from time to time.

Tip: How much does insurance go up after an accident?

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7 Comments

  1. Marie November 28, 2015 at 8:15 am -

    Thank you for posting about this. I would like to think mistakes like this don’t happen often at all, but I’ve discovered that in a family of 4 drivers, during the last 2 years, I’ve had 2 family members have false reports show up on their MVR. It is a HUGE hassle to get removed because as you’ve said here, the insurance company isn’t terribly motivated to ‘fix’ their mistake reporting if they even own that it was their mistake. In the case of one of my experiences, insurance co. said the police indicated my son was responsible for the accident (even though there was no ticketing & my son was hit head-on, not at fault!, & the other party’s insurance compensated him for the accident) – and trying to get a small town police department to review a 2.5 year old accident was near impossible. Most recently – my husband is showing an accident 2 years ago that he simply did not have. Didn’t even drive a car then! Again, the burden of proving innocence is on the driver. I would say ‘Beware’ but there’s absolutely nothing you can do to prevent this. It’s like credit reporting – they can put anything they want on your MVR & you have to fight it if it’s incorrect. Thank you again for shedding light on this.

  2. Ann Williams June 9, 2016 at 1:54 am -

    In most cases, it’s the police, DMV and insurance companies working together. In 2012, I had a flat tire and was waiting on a wrecker when a police officer came by and charged me with DUI. My own attorney did not tell me that a false accident report was filed with $1000 of false damage to my own car that I was held liable for. Even in the case of speeding tickets, there is an accident report filed with damage that drivers are not aware of. They do this to skirt risk and raise premiums.

  3. Brian February 15, 2017 at 9:11 am -

    OK so this article didn’t cover the scenario where you are absolutely not at fault. Geico has my wife down for 3 at fault accidents where on 2 occasions her car was parked legally and she was hit. She wasn’t even in the car. Both times the damage was repaired by the drivers insurance. A third accident where because it wasn’t worth nearly what we were paying she let her car get repossessed and the bank filed a claim for a little dent on the bumper. As far as I know they cant do that. Theres no police report. She was hit yet again in a parking lot and they took off. Now that’s just her. I was driving behind a dumpster truck that was overloaded with broken up ceramic tile and no legally required tarp over the top of it. It dropped tile all over my car cracking my windshield and denting my hood. The dumpster company basically told me to go to hell So I contacted Geico for advice. They said file a claim. It wont count against you. We will engage the other insurance company.Right. That’s on my record as an at fault accident. So is a road side assistance call. Needless to say they will not renew me after a few weeks ago when I was sitting at a red light and a moron that couldn’t wait to send a text came barreling into me doing 45 MPH. I have 2 jobs to pay my $350 a month insurance payment so I need a car. His insurance company said they wouldn’t get me a rental and it could take two weeks to establish liability. Really? So I was forced to call geico because I have rental coverage. So my wife and I have about 8 at fault accidents between us on our MVR’s. We each have 1 each that are truly accidents and accidents where we were at fault. But now we are uninsurable. Now I am paying for a lawyer.

  4. L Barnes November 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm -

    I have had insurance with Farm Bureau since I was a teenager. I haven’t had a ticket in around twenty years. My girlfriend and I were hit head on by driver that was texting. I wasn’t even driving. Both of our heads went completely through the windshield of her antique sports car with no airbags. We were under the speed limit. I spent 1 month in ICU and 2 more months in a hospital bed. My girlfriend and I had extensive surgeries. After nearly three years we continue to suffer from these injuries. The texting driver’s insurance paid. I was later hit by a hit and run driver. I called police for investigation. Farm bureau dropped us both. We can’t get insurance and it’s required by our state law. Where does this mess end?

  5. G Rodriguez January 15, 2018 at 11:24 pm -

    I have been with USAA for nearly 4 years. I have not had a ticket in 13 years or been involved in an accident in almost 20 years. I was recently shopping for new insurance coverage because I noticed my premium was raised twice in 6 months. On two different occasions while shopping for new insurance i was quoted astronomical rates due to a “recent claim” on my MVR from June 2017….. strange, that’s 6 months ago. Anyway, I contacted USAA and was informed that when I used my roadside assistance to have my vehicle towed, at some point it was filed as a collision and reported to my MVR. There was NO collision, my vehicle was not even disabled. I had it towed because my splash guard was dragging on the ground and I did not want to cause any damage. So NO accident, NO damage to the vehicle, NO police report, NO insurance claim, and they negligently reported a collision to my MVR. Again since that date I have had 2 premium increases as well. Had I not been shopping for insurance elsewhere I would not have known this was being falsely reported. I have a VERY unusual name so the likelihood of this being the cause of someone else with the same name on the same date I had my car towed is like 1 in a gazillion. Now I have to do the leg work to make sure they correct their error and refund any money I over paid because of their error. Funny, they quickly made the error but it’s going to take time and effort to fix…SMH.

  6. KEITHMICHAEL January 22, 2018 at 10:28 am -

    out of the blue one day i get an e-mail from my insurance co. it says this letter is to confirm my claim that i reported to them with a claim no…………..i have never been in a accident in my life, or reported anything to anybody in my life. the only thing close to the word reported is when i reported for duty when i was in the army…….

  7. Anthony Roberts January 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm -

    I am an Illinois resident with false information on my mvr report in New York. I have never been to New York or even driven through. I have had former CDLs in Illinois and Nevada and this has happened before when I was trying to obtain my CDLs. I am trying to enhance my income with secondary employment and this false information is preventing me getting hired. Please help with any information you can.

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