What’s the Difference Between an Insurance Inquiry and an Insurance Claim?

The difference between an insurance inquiry and an insurance claim is that an inquiry is simply when you contact your provider to ask whether or not you should file a claim.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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What’s the difference between insurance inquiry and insurance claim? Most policyholders are aware that frequent insurance claims will raise their premiums. However, many policyholders are unaware that simply asking your insurance company about making a claim can also raise rates – even if you have never filed a claim.

It’s true. In some cases, insurance inquiries can affect your insurance premiums moving forward. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about the difference between an insurance inquiry and a claim, including whether your insurance inquiries will go in your report.

What is an Insurance Inquiry?

An insurance inquiry is exactly what it sounds like: when a policyholder asks his or her insurance company about making a claim, then this is called an inquiry. The policyholder is inquiring about whether to make a claim.

Sometimes, an insurance inquiry can involve a simple question: you might call the 24/7 toll-free helpline at your insurance company to ask about a specific part of your policy.

In other cases, an inquiry can involve taking things a step further. You might begin filing a claim and then back out, for example. Or, your claim might be denied. Both of these situations may be recorded as inquiries.

You might assume that inquiries have no impact on your insurance history, or that they don’t go on your record. After all, you’re just contacting your insurance company to ask about making a claim – you’re not actually making the claim.

However, many insurance companies track insurance inquiries. These inquiries are stored in a database that all insurers can access.

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Insurance Inquiry Info is Stored in Your CLUE Report

Insurance inquiries are recorded in your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report. Insurance companies will request a copy of your CLUE report when building a policy. CLUE reports are used for home insurance, auto insurance, and other types of insurance policy applications.

CLUE reports, as you may expect, include insurance claims from your past seven years. Your insurance company uses this information to determine your risk as a policyholder. How many claims have you made in the past? How many claims are you likely to make in the future?

Your CLUE report also includes your name, birthdate, the type of loss for each claim, and the amount paid by your insurance company. Each claim is accompanied by a description of the item that was insured.

However, many people are unaware that CLUE reports also include additional information, including insurance inquiries. Some insurance companies choose to include insurance inquiries in your CLUE report. If you have a long history of making numerous insurance inquiries, then it’s possible a future insurance company will use this information against you. You might be charged higher premiums because you have a history of making insurance inquiries.

Insurance Companies Record Inquiries in Different Ways

Some insurance companies record virtually every interaction you have with the company.

If you call your insurance company to ask about making a claim but fail to follow through on that claim, then the insurance company might record that inquiry, and it will be added to your CLUE report.

Some insurance companies only record an inquiry if your claim is denied. If you tried to make a claim, but the insurance company denied your request, for example, then this might be recorded in your insurance history as an inquiry.

In some cases, CLUE reports fail to distinguish between inquiries and claims. You might have multiple “claims” on your CLUE report simply because you have called your insurance company to ask about your policy numerous times.

However, insurance companies process this information in different ways. Some insurance companies assign you a claim number immediately after you call, for example, even if you fail to make a claim. Other insurance companies require you to take further action before making a claim.

You Might Lose a Claims-Free Discount Due to an Insurance Inquiry

You can find reports online of drivers losing a claims-free insurance discount after making an inquiry.

Let’s say you have driven safely for five years and have never made a claim. You’re reading your policy one day and discover an item that needs further clarification.

You contact your insurance company to ask about that item, then hang up. A few months later, you renew your policy and notice you’re paying more for car insurance because you lost your good driver discount. The insurance company assigned a claim number to your insurance inquiry, and that inquiry appeared as a claim on your record.

Typically, in this situation, you can contact your insurance company and request that the inquiry is removed from your record, in which case your claims-free discount should be restored.

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Tell Your Insurance Company You’re Asking a Hypothetical Question

So you need to contact your insurance company, but you don’t want your call to be treated as an insurance inquiry or claim. How do you approach the conversation?

Some insurance experts recommend posing the question as a hypothetical. Contact your insurance company’s toll-free number and say you have a hypothetical question. Insist that you are not filing a claim. You may even want to record the phone call to ensure your insurance company cannot use the inquiry against you in the future. Assume your insurance company is recording all calls with you.

What’s the difference between insurance inquiry and insurance claim? The Bottom Line

If your car insurance premiums recently jumped for no apparent reason, then it’s possible your insurance inquiries are being treated as claims. Contact your insurance company today to clarify the matter. Sometimes, the insurance company fails to distinguish between a claim and an insurance inquiry, leading to higher rates for you. Check your CLUE report as well to make sure you understand the difference between an insurance inquiry and an insurance claim.

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