Hopefully by now, the idea of getting a copy of your credit report annually for free isn’t a foreign one - hint, ALWAYS use the government sanctioned website (ANNUALCREDITREPORT.COM).
Did you also know that FACTA (the same legislation that allowed you to get the free credit reports) also enables you to obtain free "specialty reports." These are reports that relate to such issues as medical records or payments, check writing history, residential or tenant history, and insurance claims (to name a few). Specialty reports have been available to all consumers since December 1st, 2004. FTC regulations require companies that prepare reports on consumers for employment, insurance claims, rental, check writing, and medical records history, as a minimum establish a toll free telephone number for ordering the free file disclosures. Many companies also provide information for ordering the file online. As is the case with credit reports, you are eligible for one free report per year (i.e., one insurance report, one tenancy report, etc.).
Not everyone has a need to obtain each specialty report. It makes sense to order a specialty report before shopping for new insurance, opening a new checking account, and prior to renting (or after being turned down when applying for any of the following). Consumers who find errors in a specialty report have the same rights to dispute as with errors found in a credit report.
Keep in mind these are "for profit" businesses – they provide the free specialty report to be in compliance with government regulations, but other items/products on their website are "for sale." You are under no obligation to order anything to get your free specialty reports (it is the exact same thing that occurs if you have used the government site to order your free credit report(s) where they attempt to sell you a credit score and other financial products) …
Examples of available specialty reports and how to order them:
- Insurance Underwriting History - Life, Health, Disability
- Property & Auto Claims History – (C.L.U.E. Report)
- Tenancy Consumer File
o To request a copy of your Check Writing History, (800-428-9623)
o To request a copy of your Employment History, (866-312-8075)
o To request a copy of your Tenant History, (877-448-5732)