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Consumer Reports: Smarter home insurance

(Photo: Consumer Reports)

You probably never think about your homeowners insurance. But Consumer Reports says you should and not just when disaster strikes. There are new twists to homeowners insurance that can save you money and cover you better.

Big ticket items like a tree falling on your house usually are covered by home insurance. And what you may not know is a lot of quirky events like damage from a drone may also be covered.

Another example? You could get as much as $5000 in insurance if vandals damage a family headstone. Or what if your dog damages property or bites someone? Might depend on the breed, but that could be covered, too. Also, be aware your property is also likely to be covered when it’s not in your home, for instance in a child’s dorm room or in your car.

One caution: many people pay for smaller losses themselves because they worry that their premiums will go up if they make a claim. But according to a survey of our readers that doesn’t happen all the time. Of the 2,500 survey respondents whose claim was less than 5,000, more than half did not see a premium increase. So you might consider filing for smaller losses like minor roof or tree damage. But keep in mind, though that each policy is unique making it difficult to predict if your premium will stay the same after a claim.

And another common warning: making too many claims in a short time may cause the insurance company not to renew your policy.

Another tip – if you need flood insurance or are in an earthquake or hurricane prone area, you will probably need to get separate policies to cover that kind of damage.

Complete ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to CR.org.

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