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You probably bought your home policy years ago, then stuffed it in a file somewhere.

Will it be there for you when you need it, asks ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports.

 Here’s how to protect yourself:

You’ll probably have to fight to get a big claim paid.

Homeowners who suffer a loss of $30,000 or more get the most pushback from their insurers over damage, coverage and slow payouts, ShopSmart’s recent survey data show.

But the coverage of huge losses is why you buy home insurance.

Protect yourself. You can cut your odds of a fight by doing business with an insurer that pays its claims.

The best carriers for claim-payment satisfaction are Amica, Auto-Owners and USAA, according to the most recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 9,905 subscribers who filed homeowner’s claims from 2010 through the first six months of 2013.

The first offer might not be your best offer.

Consider your insurance adjuster’s first offer just an opening gambit.

Protect yourself. If you have a dispute over damage, make the adjuster go over the estimate, line by line, with you and your contractor.

Get a second opinion from an independent contractor or multiple estimates, if necessary.