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CLUE helps find vehicle insurance mistakes

Sometimes it takes a little detective work to find the best insurance rate. Gwen Jones did just that, but while trying to save money on her premiums a mysterious accident turned up on her record.

[WEB EXTRA: How to get a CLUE report ]

"I was shocked," Vanessa Jones, of AAA, said. "I said, 'Where?'"

Insurance companies use a database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, to get information on drivers and homeowners. Much like the classic detective game, it's supposed to tell them the who, what, when and where of a person's claim history.
So CLUE reports saw Gwen Jones, driving a Cadillac, getting in an accident in Mississippi.

"They said, 'You have a white Cadillac.' I said, 'I've never owned a Cadillac. Never lived in Mississippi, never gone to Mississippi,'" Gwen Jones said.

It turns out CLUE didn't have the right Gwen Jones.

"She lives in Dallas, I live in Angleton. We have the same birthdate, the same name, but our middle initial is different," Gwen Jones said.

Gwen Jones' driver's license number somehow got attached to the other woman's accident record in clue.

"They were going to charge me a higher rate. There could be an error, anywhere along the line," Gwen Jones said.

The Florida Department of Financial Services said it has received 154 CLUE complaints from consumers who believe there are errors on their CLUE reports

"As you mentioned, it's what's being reported, so consumers may not look to see why there insurance rate has gone up," said Vanessa Jones.

Vanessa Jones said if consumers notice rate has gone up, they need to ask questions.

"Ask their agent to kind of quickly review their CLUE report with them, because again, it could certainly have an impact on their insurance rate and usually it's a negative impact," Vanessa Jones said.

Adam Gottlieb is a prime example. He believes his CLUE report may be exaggerating a fender bender.

"The policy had increased quite a bit," he said.

That's because Gottlieb's insurance company's records, which are sent to CLUE, listed his car as totaled.

"The damage was just a little scratch, maybe about 2 inches long on the back bumper," Gottlieb said. "On their computer it's showing that it's totaled, but on my end it's obviously drivable."

Gottlieb said he is not sure what is on his CLUE report. He didn't know to check it until Local 6 News told him.

An Atlanta-based company runs CLUE. A company representative said insurance companies send them updated claims information every week. If there's a mistake on your report, contact the company to correct it.

But a lot of people don't know the reports exist, let alone how to get a copy.

"I didn't know how to pull a CLUE report at all. I still don't know how to find out what is on there," Gottlieb said.

To get a copy of your clue report all you have to do is mail a request letter with a copy of your driver's license. It doesn't cost a thing to get it. But getting the report only solves half the mystery.

Gwen Jones still had to get a letter from her insurance company explaining that she never had an accident ... in a Cadillac ... in Mississippi.

"I don't know how that error could have even occurred, but it's happening and it's scary," Gwen Jones said.