Want to double-check your own coverage, or estimate what you might have to pay if your home suffered substantial damage?
* Review your homeowner's insurance so you know what your deductible is.
* Check your policy limits. Will your insurance pay to replace your house or only a certain dollar amount? Will it replace belongings as new or pay only what they were worth when destroyed?
* Check for exclusions: Items such as jewelry typically are not covered or are subject to limits.
* Standard homeowner's insurance does not cover flooding; only federal flood insurance does that. Many homeowners in government-designated flood areas are required to have such insurance. Homeowners who live in other areas aren't required to buy it, and most don't.
* A landlord's insurance does not cover a tenant's belongings. Separate renter's insurance is available.
* Think carefully before you submit smaller claims. Consumer advocates say that even a handful of claims can lead your insurer to refuse to renew your coverage.
* For more information:
Consumer Federation of America for advice on how to handle claims, at www.consumerfed.org
Insurance Information Institute for industry information, at www.iii.org
ChoicePoint to buy a copy of your house's claims history, at www.choicepoint.com