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Dear Insurance Adviser,
I just read an article on Bankrate that said some auto insurance companies quote rates based on your credit score. I was considering letting my brother-in-law (who’s a new insurance agent) quote me a policy. However, I don’t want him to know that I’ve had a bankruptcy in the past. What do insurance people actually see on your credit record? I am very interested to know. Thank you!
— Kally

Dear Kally,
Most insurance companies do, in fact, consider your credit score when writing personal auto insurance or homeowners insurance. The reason is that they have determined, with good evidence, that there is a strong correlation between the strength of your credit and the probability that you will file claims. In short, they discovered that the higher your credit score, the fewer the claims you’re likely to have and the better customer you will be (meaning you’ll pay bills on time, for example).

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit information is available only to companies that you have authorized to check your credit. Your credit information otherwise is very private and protected. Your brother-in-law, as your agent, should never find out about your bankruptcy unless you tell him. The only thing he’ll be able to find out is that your credit score is high or low — but not the reason why.

Federal law mandates that you’re entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The federally approved website for these reports is AnnualCreditReport.com.

It’s not a bad idea to check your credit score and to correct any errors before you apply for insurance.

Good luck.

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