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What Is Family Liability Protection on Homeowners Insurance in Georgia? 

You have to pay attention to many details while buying your home and one of the most important is your new home insurance policy. Your policy is intended to make sure you have the financial resources available to protect this important investment. 

One important part of your homeowners insurance policy is known as family liability protection. What is it, and why do you need it? 

The Basics of Family Liability Protection in Homeowners Insurance 

To understand what family liability protection means in your policy, you want to first get a handle on the basics. Liability insurance protects your finances when you are found to be at fault for someone’s injuries or damages — or when you’re sued, even if you don’t think the actions are your fault. 

For example, liability in car insurance helps pays for your legal costs, injuries to other parties, and damage to the property of others (up to your coverage limits), when you’re found to be at fault in a car crash. 

Family liability protection on your Georgia homeowners insurance policy is one of several lesser-known insurance benefits since it tends to take a backseat to the features that help you rebuild your home after a fire, for example. If actions you or other family members take (or don’t take) cause injuries to others or damage to their property, your coverage helps pay for your legal costs and for the losses of that other party. 

This coverage can go by other names, including homeowners liability, personal liability, or Georgia family liability. 

The Need for Liability Coverage in Home Life 

We can all make mistakes that might impact others. When you’re part of a family, the likelihood of that happening increases simply because there are more of you. And some of those mistakes could prove to be costly to those living on either side or behind your home — or visiting.  

It’s not just the humans in the family that can get into this kind of trouble. Even the family pet can cause injuries or property damage. Yes, even the family dog might be covered in this liability protection benefit of your home insurance plan. (More on this later.) 

But how much damage could the little ones cost? More than you might think. Your kids are perfect angels, but if a home run hit from a backyard ballgame takes out a neighbor’s window, then you’re responsible. Fortunately, you have family liability protection on your homeowners policy. 

Want more examples of how everyday life can result in unintentional damage or injury to others? Read on. 

Delving Deeper: What Family Liability Protection Covers 

Are there trees on your property? If so, have you scrutinized each one of them to make sure the limbs are all healthy and strong? Probably not — right? But what if one of those limbs drops onto your next-door neighbor’s garage and goes through their roof? Does Georgia’s homeowners insurance cover damage to your neighbor’s property? 

Here’s another example of the need for family liability protection. Georgia doesn’t get much snow, but when it does fall, we’re often caught totally unprepared. What if you didn’t clear the sidewalk in front of your home because it didn’t seem cold enough to ice over? But you find out that that’s exactly what happened when you hear sirens wail and see the ambulance pull up in front of your home. 

Your elderly neighbor gets taken to the ER with a broken hip after a nasty fall in cold weather. Her family sues you for medical bills and related issues. It could be tens of thousands of dollars in medical and legal bills. Where will you get that kind of money? 

A person helps an elderly man up after he slips on icy, snowy steps.

Now let’s address family gatherings during the holidays. Thanksgiving dinner is at your house this year. Uncle Fred gets a wee bit too celebratory with the sherry and takes a rather impressive tumble down your stairs. He’s family, so he’s not likely to sue you and your loved ones, but you know he can’t afford the hefty hospital bills for treatment, and he doesn’t have enough medical insurance either. In this case, you might encourage your insurance company to extend your liability policy settlement. 

One final example: your normally gentle dog escapes its leash during a walk in the neighborhood, gets stressed out, and bites a jogger who’s just trying to keep your pooch from running into the street. This happens seven blocks from your home, but you’re covered if your dog is on your policy. (Not all breeds are covered. Read on for more on this topic.) 

In all of these cases, the Georgia family liability portion of your homeowners insurance coverage would likely offer financial benefits up to your coverage limits. 

This protection can be critical to your bottom line, even if you don’t feel you’re at fault for the injury or damage that occurred. If you’re sued, you’ll need to get a lawyer — and they don’t come cheap. 

Understanding Personal Liability Inside and Outside the Home 

Remember that example we gave earlier in this post about the Georgia farmer with no neighbors to bother or accidentally damage or injure? Well, even if you’re that family farm, you probably at least occasionally have guests over. Or strangers stop in your driveway to ask for directions. Or your kids entertain when you’re not at home. Or the dog runs wild and bites someone in town. 

The point is, that personal liability is an issue both inside and outside your home. That means your Georgia family liability coverage is critical no matter where you live in the Peach State. You could suffer the same punch to your wallet whether you own a home in metro Atlanta or one on 100 acres just outside of Sylvester. 

The Importance of Knowing Your Exclusions 

In the insurance world, an exclusion describes what’s not covered in your policy. 

If the “accident” wasn’t so accidental, you may be on your own. Remember that example of your kids accidentally hitting a home run right through the neighbor’s plate glass window? Covered! Unless … the little darlings did it on purpose. 

Let’s say one teammate bet your son that he couldn’t hit the window with one strong-arm toss. Your son took the challenge because even he didn’t think he could. Good news: he won the bet. The rest of the news isn’t quite so positive. Your family liability protection plan won’t pay for the deliberate damage to someone else’s property, so the cost of the neighbor’s window repair will come out of your kid’s allowance forever. 

There’s also an important policy exclusion involving dog bites. Certain breeds are excluded from coverage in Georgia because of the higher risk that they will bite someone. Excluded breeds include rottweilers, pit bulls, and even some that you wouldn’t expect to find on that list. It warrants a discussion with your homeowners insurance agent to see whether Fido is “in” or “out.” 

Also, keep in mind the purpose of liability insurance. It’s primarily for the benefit of the other party when your actions cause damage or injury. 

So, in the example of the tree limb falling on the neighbor’s garage, your liability settlement would handle the cost of fixing and reshingling that roof. But if that same tree falls on your garage roof, you won’t receive liability benefits. (Of course, the accident will likely be covered by the structural coverage benefit of your homeowners policy.) 

One final point here: even if it’s not covered in your standard Georgia homeowners policy, you can often add coverage at an additional cost. This is yet another subject to raise with your homeowners insurance agent. 

How Much Coverage Is Adequate? 

In Georgia, most homeowners insurance policies carry at least $100,000 in family liability protection. However, many individuals buy additional coverage for a total of $300,000, or even $500,000 or more, for ultimate financial protection. 

Your level of Georgia liability coverage should depend on your income, net worth, and assets. In other words, the more you stand to lose in a lawsuit, the more family liability protection coverage you should have. 


Find Affordable Home Insurance with Liability Benefits in Georgia Today 

If you’re in the market for a home, finding affordable homeowners insurance is already on your ever-expanding to-do list. If your meeting is with an independent insurance agent, you’re likely to find the best rates on especially great coverage. That’s because independent agents have business relationships with multiple major insurance companies and can shop and compare the cost of competing policies. 

Even if you already have a homeowners policy, your independent agent can review your policy and help you determine if you have an adequate level of family liability protection. 

At Southern Harvest, we offer highly experienced and knowledgeable independent homeowners insurance agents to serve you. Just call us at (877) 831-4677. If it’s easier, stop in at a nearby Southern Harvest office or get a quick quote online. 

However you reach out, we’ll help you protect your family finances.