To many homeowners, home insurance is just another bill to pay. But when disasters happen, this extra layer of protection can serve as your lifeboat—and simultaneously, your worst nightmare.

That’s because each home insurance claim, while offering financial relief in the short term, can increase the amount you pay for your premium—sometimes dramatically. So what’s a budget-conscious homeowner to do? First, you should know the most common home insurance claims—and how to avoid having to file one in the first place.

To be clear, we’re not saying you shouldn’t file a home insurance claim when you’ve suffered loss or damage—that’s what insurance is for, and you’re paying for it. But certain types of damage can be prevented or minimized, and it’s in your financial best interest to take the proactive route.

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