Consumer Reports: Best coverage, price for homeowners insurance

Owning a home translates into a lot of expenses, including homeowners insurance. So how can you make sure you have the coverage you need, at the best price?

It's a delicate balance - you want to make sure you have enough coverage and you're well-protected without overpaying. Consumer Reports has some help for all of us.

No matter what you need to insure, the right homeowners insurance can help protect you.

"The key is to get your home and its contents protected at the best price," says Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports Money Editor.

Once your home is assessed, you can determine how much insurance you need. Consumer Reports recommends insuring your home for the full replacement cost.

"You don't want to be under-insured, in a catastrophe, you may have to completely rebuild," says Stanger.

At the same time, explore ways to lower your premiums.

Websites including insure.com, NetQuote.com and SelectQuote.com make it easy to comparison shop in your pajamas.

When Consumer Reports asked members to rate their experiences with insurance companies, four stood out for overall satisfaction - including Erie Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance.

"The two at the very top of the ratings, USAA, which mainly deals with military, veterans and their families, and Amica are not available on homeowners insurance search sites. So if you want to get rates from them, you're going to have to contact them directly," says Stanger.

Also, look into bundling home and auto from the same company. It may save you as much as 30 percent!

And consider raising your deductible. Higher deductibles equal lower premiums.

Consumer Reports says you can also shave your premiums by making certain home improvements.

Replacing old plumbing, adding a security system and water or gas-leak detection sensors can each trim 2 to 6 percent or more from your bill.
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