Tips for saving money with your homeowners insurance

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Making smarter home insurance claims can help you save money. (KTRK)

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

It's pretty well known that big ticket items, like a tree falling on your house, usually are covered by home insurance. What you may not know is a lot of quirky events like damage from a drone may also be covered.

For example, you could get as much as $5,000 in insurance payouts if vandals damage a family headstone. But what if your dog damages property or bites someone? It might depend on the breed but that could be covered, too.

Also, be aware your property will likely be covered when it's not in your home, for instance if it is in a child's dorm room or in your car.

"One caution: many people pay for smaller losses themselves because they worry their premiums will go up if they make a claim. That's not necessarily the case. According to a survey of our readers that doesn't happen all the time," said Margot Gilman from Consumer Reports.

Of the 2,500 survey respondents whose claims were less than $5,000, more than half did not see their premium increase.
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Cell phone videos help make filing insurance claims easier.

So you might want to consider filing for smaller losses like minor roof or tree damage. Keep in mind that each policy is unique, making it difficult to predict if your premium will stay the same after a claim.

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

One final tip to consider: 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.
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