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CR members share their hard-won insights about the insurance coverage you need and the smartest ways to submit a claim

Last year’s multiple wildfires and Category 5 hurricanes caused billions of dollars in damage to the homes and personal property of the people in their paths. Those who had sufficient homeowners insurance were at least compensated for their losses. But those who lacked coverage almost certainly also suffered a financial calamity.

How do you know whether you have the right type and amount of home­owners insurance to protect you from the financial fallout that can result from a fire or natural disaster?

To find out, we surveyed 19,100 Consumer Reports members who live in areas hit by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, or the California wildfires last year. These people are in a unique position to tell you what you need to do to protect your home, family, and belongings before disaster strikes. Forty-five percent of those in Irma’s wake had property damage, as did 15 percent of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Although only 2 percent of the people in areas swept by California’s wildfires had property damage, 26 percent of them had their homes completely destroyed.

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