Best homeowners insurance

FRESNO, Calif.

One reason is higher deductibles. So can you count on your insurance company if disaster strikes, as it has for so many people this summer? Consumer Reports says maybe, maybe not.

Discrepancies between the payment a homeowner expects and what an insurer actually covers are not unusual, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center. It surveyed more than 11,000 subscribers who have filed claims in the past few years.

Consumer Reports found that for large claims when the damage was $25,000 or more, 19 percent of the people polled did not agree with the amount their insurers wanted to pay.

Some of the lower-rated national insurers are big-name companies, including Allstate and Farmers Insurance.

But the survey also found that most people were very satisfied with their insurer. Among the top-rated home insurers in Consumer Reports' survey are Amica and USAA, a company that primarily serves families with some connection to the military.

If you've got a large claim and you are not happy with the amount your insurer is offering to pay, try disputing it. People with a large claim who did that received $6,000 more on average than those who did not.

When disputing an insurance claim:
- Request a meeting to review your estimate line by line.
- Ask to see specific contract language if you're told your policy does not cover the damage.
- As a last resort, consider getting a public adjuster.

And be sure you read over your policy carefully before disaster strikes. Many companies have reduced their coverage, especially when it comes to hurricane damage.

Two ways to cut your costs - get your home and car insurance with the same company. And consider increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000.

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