According to the website HomeInsurance.com, as of November 2010, Georgia homeowners paid an average of $798 per property, per year, in homeowners insurance, or approximately $120 more than the national average. While its not required by Georgia law, homeowners insurance may be mandated by your mortgage lender, so its important to have all the facts before signing the dotted line.
In Georgia, floods, tornadoes and even hurricanes are a part of life, so its important to look for a homeowners insurance policy that provides supplemental coverage for these higher-ticket disasters. More often than not, however, you will need to go to a third-party insurer for extra protection, and it will come with a higher price tag. For flood insurance, the Georgia Office of Insurance recommends the federally-funded National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, which is available in most parts of the state.
The 60-day Rule
Just like with Georgia auto insurance, your homeowners insurance can be cancelled by the insurer for any reason during the first 60 days of the policy, but a 10-day termination notice must be given by mail. After 60 days, Georgia law restricts cancellation in what is known as the "term period." During this time, your homeowners insurance can only be terminated if you fail to pay for your premiums, file a false claim, are charged with a felony or fail to keep the property in safe conditions.
Dogs, Trees and Automobiles
Certain types of dogs may be excluded on a Georgia homeowners insurance policy, or they may keep you from getting coverage altogether. For example, many insurance companies will raise your premiums or cancel your policy if you have an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Doberman, Rottweiller, Chow, Presa Canario or any wolf-hybrid animal. If you have tree damage and want to file a homeowners insurance claim, most plans will only cover the cost to move tree debris, and hail- and wind-damaged trees are not covered in Georgia. All vehicles on your property, including bikes, ATVs and other motorized machines are also not protected by a Georgia homeowners insurance policy.
The FAIR Plan
If your homeowners insurance policy is dropped or you cannot afford one, the Georgia Office of Insurance recommends the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, or FAIR Plan, which is offered by the Georgia Underwriters Insurance Association. The FAIR Plan steps in and helps low-income and un-insurable homeowners when traditional insurers cannot, either through limited coverage plan or a fire and extended policy.
Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.