Homeowner's insurance. It's a bill Jim Sugrue paid year after year, without much thought -- until a summer storm brought a tree crashing onto his house.
Jim says, "You could see the front door is blocked, the walkway is ripped up."
Branches came right through the roof, literally cracking the walls. Suddenly it mattered how good his insurance policy really was.
Jim explains, "I couldn't get over how fast Liberty Mutual worked. The adjuster was there within 24 hours and I had a check within 10 days, that covered all of what they promised."
Jim Sugrue was thrilled with his service from Liberty Mutual. But Consumer Reports says that's not always the case.
Margot Gilman with Consumer Reports Money Adviser says, "Most people are pretty satisfied with their insurance companies --until they put in a claim! So we wanted to find out which insurers really come through for people when they need them most."
Consumer Reports surveyed nearly 10-thousand subscribers who filed homeowner's insurance claims and found some companies fared better than others.
Margot says, "Most people shop for home insurance once and then forget about it. So you never really have a chance to 'test' your policy until you have a problem."
Consumer Reports suggests picking a top insurer. Amica, USAA and Auto-Owners all received top ratings.
And like Jim Sugrue, occasionally reviewing your policy can help ensure you've got the right coverage in a crisis.
Another way to protect yourself?
Consumer Reports suggests befriending a contractor before you really need one. Hiring someone to do small jobs around your house now means you'll have a relationship with a contractor, if you ever need someone to repair major damage.