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What is Family Liability Protection on Homeowners Insurance in Georgia?

Person's foot on steps, about to step on a toy and fall - cheap home insurance in Georgia.

Family liability protection, often known as personal liability insurance, is a main part of your homeowners insurance policy. But what is family liability protection, and how does it protect you? Do you carry a high enough level of coverage? How much will added coverage cost? 

Basics of Family Liability Protection in Homeowners Insurance 

Accidents happen to friends, neighbors, and strangers, and sometimes, it’s your fault. Or at least the legal system might blame you or a member of your household for injury or property damage. 

These accidents can happen to your closest extended family member while you’re hosting a holiday party or to strangers when you accidentally cause personal injury or damage to their property. 

No problem, you might say. You have no neighbors. You live in a rural part of Georgia and can’t see another residence, even with binoculars. But you might still host parties. Maybe you have kids with friends who regularly visit. Or a dog who sometimes gets loose and could bite a jogger. Or a tree limb that could fall in the road during a windstorm and hit a passing vehicle. Or… 

The point is, no matter where you live or how careful you are, accidents can happen. Fortunately, you might already have some financial protection against legal claims and medical costs for accidents where you or a family member are at fault. 

You probably have basic family liability protection on your homeowners insurance policy. If you don’t own your residence but have renters insurance, you likely have this same protection through that policy. 

Among the many lesser-known benefits of your homeowners insurance policy is family coverage protection. But does your basic policy include adequate limits to this benefit? That’s a key question you should discuss with your homeowners or renters insurance agent. 

The Need for Liability Coverage in Home Life 

Got kids? They’ve got a whole lot of energy and tend to get hurt. When they do, your family’s health insurance makes emergency room visits more affordable. 

What if it’s not your kids but one of their friends who gets injured on your property? Or your kids accidentally hit a baseball through a neighbor’s window. Or someone leaves a skateboard on a porch step, and a visitor takes a tumble. 

In all of these settings (and plenty of others your own mind might come up with), no one did anything to cause injury or property damage deliberately. But bad (and potentially expensive) things can happen in any household. The larger the household, the more likely you might be sued or held financially responsible for the injury or property damage of others. 

Delving Deeper: What Family Liability Protection Covers 

You can think of the Georgia family liability protection on your homeowners policy as reducing your financial burden in three areas: medical costs for injuries, repair or replacement costs for damages to the property of others, and legal costs if you’re sued for injury or property damages. 

If someone gets a little tipsy at a holiday party at your place and trips over a rug, the ambulance ride and ER visit alone could cost several hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. That doesn’t even count possible hospitalization, surgery, or other medical procedures. 

What if a healthy tree limb falls on your neighbor’s roof during hurricane season? How much does that repair cost? 

Family liability protection can save your finances anytime you’re being held responsible for an accident where you or a family member is at fault, even if you don’t feel the blame is yours. 

A tree falls on a house - cheap homeowners insurance in Georgia.

Understanding Personal Liability Inside and Outside the Home 

Let’s say you live in a condominium complex, an Atlanta townhouse, or any other real estate parcel where your neighbors share walls or are nearby. Imagine you leave a stove burner on or a wiring problem results in a fire that also impacts those close neighbors. Your family coverage will be critical. 

As noted earlier, this feature of your homeowners insurance policy can be valuable even if you don’t have a neighbor within a mile in any direction. That’s because you or your kids have at least the occasional visitor. 

Outside your home, dogs get loose, and tree limbs (or entire trees) fall. The bottom line is that there are many ways that you or family members can accidentally cause injury or damage to others both inside and outside your home. When that happens, you’ll hope you have the financial protection you need for the family coverage. 

Insights Into Additional Liability Protections 

In general, insurance coverage offers financial protection when your finances are at risk over actions or inactions that might be caused by you. Family liability coverage protects your finances when you or a member of your family accidentally causes injury or property damage to neighbors, home visitors, or others you live near. 

However, there are many types of liability protection. Your car insurance contains liability coverage in case your driving causes an accident or otherwise injures somebody or damages the property of others. 

If you own a business, large or small, you should ask your insurance agent what your needs might be for business liability coverage. Depending on the kind of operation you run, your business coverage could include liability protection against injuries caused to visitors on your premises, lawsuits brought by clients, partners, or investors, claims of employees, or legal actions against contracts or agreements you’ve drawn up. 

To sum up, if you ever feel that medical claims or lawsuits for damages might be brought against you for any reason, you should talk with your insurance agent about liability coverage. 

The Importance of Knowing Your Exclusions 

You need to keep two things in mind: Your family liability coverage protects your pocketbook against accidents, and it covers the expenses of others if you’re at fault. 

If you have a running feud with your next-door neighbor and that baseball coming through a window wasn’t an accident, you won’t be able to submit a liability claim to pay for the damages. 

Similarly, if your kids put that batted ball through your plate glass window instead of someone else’s, your family liability coverage won’t be relevant. Of course, you might still be able to make a claim against your homeowners insurance policy — just not for liability. 

Your policy does not include those at your home who are not members of your household. So, if an old buddy couch-surfing for a while causes property damage, you can’t make a claim for family liability. If you have tenants, it is essential for them to have a renters insurance policy to protect their belongings, as they are not included in your own policy. 

Also, while your coverage can pay medical costs and legal claims related to dog bites, not all breeds of dogs can be put on your homeowners insurance policy for family liability protection. 

This is another important conversation you should have with your homeowners insurance agent. If your breed of dog isn’t automatically covered on a traditional policy, it might be possible (and well worth it) to pay extra for add-on coverage if it’s offered. 

If you look at what your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover and realize you want more protection, consider customizing your policy with the help of your agent. 

How Much Coverage Is Adequate? 

You’ll get about $100,000 worth of family coverage with a standard homeowners insurance plan at no additional cost. But is it enough? 

Two particularly high-ticket items for American consumers are healthcare and legal costs. Both can deplete your finances quickly. That’s why many insurance advisors recommend carrying at least $300,000 to as much as $500,000 in total Georgia family liability protection. 

Sit down with an independent homeowners insurance agent and crunch the numbers. The cost increase of your policy is often minimal, even when adding hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional family benefits. 

Essential Next Steps: How to Get Covered 

Do you own a home? If so, you should already have homeowners insurance, but you might still have questions about your coverage options and the rates you’re paying. One of those questions might be about the level of financial protection offered by your family liability benefits. 

At Southern Harvest Insurance, our independent homeowners insurance agents can answer those questions and find you affordable coverage that protects your finances and helps safeguard what’s likely to be your family’s largest investment. 

Simply call Southern Harvest at (877) 831-4677 or get a quick quote online. You can also find a Southern Harvest office wherever you call home in Georgia.