Homeowners insurance - spoiled refrigerated items claim impact

I lost power for a couple of days in the most recent Noreaster. Several hundred dollars of food between my fridge and freezer had to be thrown out. My homeowners policy will pay up to $500 with no deductible.

Question is - will this impact my rate going forward and/or show up on my CLUE report? I’ve never made a claim before and get a discount because of that.

Wondering if it’s worth reporting or not.

Insurer is USAA. State is MA.


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If the insurer pays anything, it’s hard to imagine not showing up on your CLUE report unless they don’t participate in CLUE. They’ll report a claim even if no money was paid by the insurer. Some even report when you inquire whether a specific loss is covered by your policy although that’s uncommon.

I’m guessing this specific one may be categorized as weather-related so it won’t look too bad but the amount the insurer reimburses will show up.

If you’re getting a discount for not making any claims, I’d ask my agent directly if that discount goes away before making a small weather-related claim. Claims remain on CLUE report for 5-7 years so after 7-years, you could switch insurer and have a claim-free new policy. But current insurer usually doesn’t consult CLUE for renewals since they have first hand access to your claim history.

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Don’t some insurers consider a call to ask about a claim as a claim? I wanted to avoid that.

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They are not supposed to report inquiries the same as claims. But it depends a bit on how the insured asks the questions. If you report a loss and tell upfront that you’re considering filing a claim or not, insurer may report that loss regardless of whether a claim is actually made. Which is why you have to frame it as an inquiry about coverage and specifically NOT a claim, and be vague about details rather than referencing a specific loss. (you can always file an actual claim in a later call)

Here’s a good FAQ I think about this kind of issues: CLUE FAQ

You can also ask for corrections if they report an inquiry as claim, and you can add a note saying that no claims were actually filed and no losses were reimbursed by the insurer.

Thanks I had no CLUE these systems are even out there, My lack of knowledge makes me want to know more. Does this report follow the property or policy holder?

It has been quite a few years (>8 or 9), but I want to say that we once called USAA asking about a water leak in our ceiling. We were just asking questions and found out they would likely not cover it. Lo and behold, they had opened a claim or something similar based on the phone call. I didn’t think anything of it until several years later when I found out on FW that you could check those things and I found the claim on our CLUE report.

It has apparently aged off the report, I just checked my property now and it just shows the hailstorm damage (also with USAA) from almost 7 years ago. That one showed up on the report, but never raised our rates specifically because we were in some sort of declared disaster situation. About a year after that event, every insurer in the state started jacking rates across the board on everyone and rewrote their roof policies.

If it was me, I wouldn’t call USAA. Now that I think about it, even with those two claims on the old house, we always got the claims free discount.

BostonOne, any claim on your HO policy, regardless of the nature of the claim or the amount, will be reported to CLUE. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will impact your premiums with either your current carrier or future ones, but does mean that other carriers will know about it.

Unfortunately, none of us here can tell you whether such a claim will affect your premiums and, if so, by how much. This depends not just on the carrier but also on a million variables. If you had an independent agent, you could have him/her add a hypothetical claim to a quote and see what it comes back with, but this isn’t an option with USAA. Keep in mind though that even if this claim does not impact your premiums, it’ll definitely make it more difficult for you to file other claims for the next 3-5 years, so it’s something to consider.

You may also want to consider your current premiums. If you have a condo, and only pay something like $100/year in premiums, the decision to file a claim would be much easier than if you have a house and pay several thousand dollars a year in premiums, as the surcharge, if any, is going to amount to a percentage of your current premiums.


Thank you. I saw what I think is good advice about this posted elsewhere:

If you are already filing a claim for damage and you want to add on the few hundred dollars for spoilage, that is a no-brainer. But if you are only filing a claim for the spoilage, it might not be worth the risk.


Right. In general, you want to stay away from filing small claims. A lot of people think that filing small claims is no big deal, whereas in reality a lot of insurance carriers care a lot more about the nature and the circumstances that gave rise to a claim, as well as about their frequency, than about the amount.


It kinda tracks both.

Say you’re purchasing a new property, insurer is going to check both the home buyer’s CLUE report to check their record of claims on previous properties (to estimate how likely they are to have claims on the new one, find patterns of insured who claim the smallest loss or not), AND they will get a CLUE report on the new home as well to find risk patterns. Say the previous owner reported repeated losses for burglary, that is probably a systemic risk of the neighborhood. If they have frequent flooding losses or sewer backup, that tells them of inherent flaws with the property. That’ll help insurers evaluate their risk of future claims both based on the property and who owns it.

Why couldn’t you just take the food outside and bury it in the snow?

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I was thinking why he couldn’t dump ice (or snow) into a cooler or freezer, but yours sounds more fun.

The storm was high winds & rain, but no snow.

And all the animals that would eat it.

A few years ago I lost power to my house and we had the same situation of food spoilage. I called the power company to complain and they sent me a claim form. They paid ~250 without requiring any documentation other than a signed form. Might be worth a call.


My parents power company distributes dry ice during extended power outages.

Filed a food spoilage claim a number of years ago due to my freezer dying. Didn’t affect my insurance rates but the very next year, the spoiled food coverage portion of my policy was canceled.


Lexis Nexis CLUE is just one of the insurance clearinghouses. Some insurance companies report to CLUE. Some report to A-PLUS. Many report to both. A history in either can cause you increase in quotes or policies down the road, depending on the age and type of history.