Monday, March 9, 2009

Home Insurers' Use of Credit Scores Raises Red Flag

Consumer groups are warning that the way insurance companies use consumer credit scores to determine home insurance rates could affect affordability for some. The widespread industry practice also raises privacy questions.
The Globe & Mail and Toronto Star (no link) both report on the practice by some insurers to check their client's Transunion, Equifax and Experian files. The logic is that people who are late paying their bills are also likely to be less responsible homeowners.
No one, not even an insurance company, can access your credit information without your explicit approval. The insurance companies acknowledge as much. No one will be denied insurance if they refuse to allow an insurer to peek at their credit report, they say. You just might not get the very best rate possible, if you don't.
To quote Paul Simon: "What is the point of this story? What information pertains?" You should ask to see a copy of your credit report - if for no other reason than to know where you stand. If you're buying a house, applying for a car loan or looking for home insurance, having a clean credit report could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars down the road.

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