Do You Need Gun Collection Insurance?
Do you like to hunt, shoot skeet or targets? Have you amassed a collection of firearms? Although rather broad questions, I think it gets to the heart of the issue. Many outdoor folks and even some indoor types become enamored with the challenge of propelling various-sized projectiles from point A to point B with high precision and regularity. The search for a mechanical device that’s comfortable to hold while consistently creating a hole where it’s aimed can be elusive. So, when we find a firearm that does everything we ask of it and looks good while doing it, we usually want to protect it. Now, fast forward to someone spending decades investing in a variety of firearms that meet these criteria. Some collectors develop an emotional connection with their guns because of the great memories associated with each one and when they were obtained or used. Frequently, their enhanced value lies not only in the realm of sentiments but in their rarity. Suppose you’ve spent time building a collection of firearms or inherited a collection from a family member. You quickly realize that replacing certain guns might be difficult, or nearly impossible, unless you have gun collection insurance.
I recently discussed insurance policies specific to guns and trophy mounts with Cole Cushman. He co-founded Gun & Trophy Insurance with his father to fill a gap in most homeowner policies. His family-run business offers affordable gun collection insurance options for gun enthusiasts and hunters. I also discovered they offer policies that cover the total cost of a guided hunt and taxidermy to replace a treasured mount lost during a fire or disaster.
Scenarios Where Gun Collection Insurance Makes Sense
Cushman said that an entry-level policy begins to make sense when a collection reaches a value that exceeds $10-$15,000. Insurance specific to a collector’s needs is a good idea, and insuring treasured items can offer a range of financial and emotional benefits. Here are a few other reasons to consider insuring your collection:
- Financial Protection- Insurance provides a safety net in case of loss, theft, or damage, helping you recover the item’s value.
- Peace of Mind- Knowing your valuables are insured can relieve stress and worry.
- Replacement Cost– Insurance will cover the current value of a firearm or trophy if it’s irreparably damaged or lost.
- Investment Protection– Insurance safeguards your investment for items that appreciate over time.
- Legal Requirements– Some jurisdictions or situations may require insurance for certain high-value items.
- Loan Collateral– Insurance can make it easier to use an item as collateral for a loan.
- Repair Coverage– Some insurance policies cover the cost of repairs for damaged items.
- Disaster Recovery- Insurance can help rebuild your collection after a natural disaster like a flood or fire.
- Inheritance Planning- Insured valuables are easier to divide among heirs equitably.
- Tax Benefits- The insurance cost may sometimes be tax-deductible as part of investment or business expenses.
Are Guns Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
Cushman advised me that most standard homeowners insurance policies offer some degree of coverage for firearms, but there are caveats to consider. The range of protection differs against risks like theft, fire, or vandalism, and most policies include limitations you must consider when insuring your collection.
It’s crucial to read your policy carefully and consult your insurance agent to understand what is and isn’t covered. If your firearms are valuable or liability concerns exist, you may need to consider a specialized firearms insurance policy. Here are a few points to consider when weighing your coverage options:
- Coverage Limits– Homeowners insurance often has a cap on the amount reimbursed for firearms, which may not cover the total value of a high-end or antique collection.
- Exclusions– Certain circumstances, like accidental discharge, may not be covered.
- Documentation– Insurers often require detailed documentation for valuable items, including firearms.
- Scheduled Personal Property– Additional coverage known as scheduled personal property may be necessary for more extensive or valuable collections to provide adequate protection.
- Liability– Liability coverage for injuries caused by firearms varies widely by policy and jurisdiction. Some policies exclude it altogether.
- Local Laws– State and local laws can impact how guns need to be stored or secured, which could affect your coverage.
Instances Where Gun Collection Insurance Has Paid Off
Cushman related two stories where their custom policies paid off.
He described a house in Alabama where the owner had built a concrete vault room to secure his mint-condition collection of WWI & II weapons. This home became engulfed in fire, and the water and chemical agents used to subdue the flames damaged his vintage collection. Luckily, his Gun & Trophy Insurance policy paid him $300,000, and he got to keep his collection.
Cushman also described a remote hunting cabin whose walls displayed several cherished African trophy mounts. The owner’s trophy policy reimbursed him $100,000 so he could book another hunt to replace those mounts.
The above scenarios are just two reasons for acquiring insurance specific to your collection of guns and or trophies. However, there are many legitimate reasons to insure your collection.
What Is The Best Way To Insure A Gun Collection?
Choosing the right policy for your gun collection involves a few key steps to ensure you get the best coverage for your needs. The best place to begin is to inventory and assess what it would take to replace your current collection. Here are a few points to consider in your search for the best coverage:
- Inventory and Appraise– Document each item in your collection, including make, model, and serial number, along with any unique characteristics. Take high-quality photos and consider a professional appraisal for valuable pieces.
- Review Existing Coverage– Check your existing homeowners or renters’ insurance policy to see if it offers any coverage for firearms and to what extent.
- Understand Limitations– Standard policies often have coverage limits for firearms, and you’ll want to understand any exclusions or conditions.
- Scheduled Personal Property– Some insurance policies allow you to add “scheduled personal property” coverage for individual high-value items, which could include firearms.
- Specialized Firearm Insurance– Consider a specialized policy for firearms and trophy mounts. These policies may offer broader coverage and higher limits; some even cover accessories, ammunition, and scopes.
- Liability Coverage– Ensure you understand how each policy handles liability related to firearms, especially if you plan to use them and not just keep them as collectibles.
- Safety Requirements– Many insurers require specific safety measures, such as secure storage in a safe or gun lockbox, as a condition of coverage.
- Periodic Reviews– As you add or remove items from your collection, update your inventory and policy accordingly. Consider regular reappraisals for valuable or antique items, as their value may change over time.
- Compare Quotes– Invite quotes from multiple insurers to find the most comprehensive coverage for the best price.
- Consult Experts– Seek advice from experts or fellow collectors with experience insuring firearms to ensure you consider all aspects.
- Read the Fine Print– Always read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered.
By carefully selecting and customizing your insurance coverage, you can better protect your investment and enjoy peace of mind.
Comparing The Best Gun Collection Insurance Policies
Gun and Trophy Insurance
For over 40 years, the Cushman family has offered insurance for antique, military, and modern firearms. They also provide coverage for hunter’s trophy mounts, including travel, guide service, and taxidermy costs to replace that visible reminder of their hunting adventure.
Cole Cushman is an avid hunter and collector who understands the need for a comprehensive policy that reflects real-world replacement costs at an affordable rate. Below is a sample of their current annual premiums based on collection size with a $500.00 deductible per occurrence for guns and trophies/hunt replacement.
- $115 + $15 admin fee: Up to $20,000 in coverage
- $150 + $25 admin fee: Up to $48,000 in coverage
- $283 + $35 admin fee: $100,001 in coverage
- $550+ $45 admin fee: $250,001 in coverage
- $875 + $50 admin fee: $500,001 in coverage
NRA Gun Insurance
The National Rifle Association has been in the business of promoting and protecting shooter rights since 1871. They have a membership of nearly five million and offer several types of insurance for its members.
They currently offer a variety of policies that cover:
- Personal firearms liability
- Firearms Instructors
- Hunt and lease
- Firearms businesses
- Guides and Outfitters
If you’re already a member, check out their policies; if not, call and get a quote.
Collectibles Insurance Services (CIS)
CIS was founded in 1966 to fill a void in insurance coverage for various collectibles. They have grown to provide specialized policies for most acquisitions, including guns.
CIS has been helping protect cherished collections for over 50 years. Their decades-long experience in protecting antique to modern gun, knife, and edged weapon collections of all sizes, including ammo, accessories, and gun safes, translates into superior protection that values your firearms as much as you do.
Their comprehensive coverage includes:
- Accidental Breakage
- Flood (except in Zones A & V)
- Loss in the Mail
- Natural Disasters
You do not need to provide serial numbers to insure your collection, and they also provide protection while traveling, exhibiting, and storage facilities.
Core-Vens Insurance (Core-Vens & Company, Inc.)
Core-Vens & Company, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency founded in 1963 and located in Clinton, Iowa. They’ve been insuring firearms collectors, dealers, and shooting sportsmen since 1987 and offer a wide range of coverage for individuals, dealers, and firearms and ammunition manufacturers.
They offer wide-ranging policies that cover everything from autos to worker’s compensation. Their comprehensive approach means they can provide custom policies with coverage tailored to gun owner’s specific needs.
SIAI Gun Insurance
Sportsman’s Insurance Agency Inc. (SIAI) was founded in 1991 to focus on insurance coverage for gun clubs, gun owners, and other businesses in the firearms industry. Hollis Boss started SIAI as a successor to the Hollis Boss Agency, providing a full range of insurance services, including coverage for gun clubs. Hollis is a past President of the NSSA, a member of the NSSA Hall of Fame, and a former U.S. Shooting Team Foundation Chairman.
This insurance program is designed especially for ATA, NSSA/NSCA, SCI, and SCTP/SASP members who reside in the United States or Canada. It works exclusively with firearm and gun club insurance as a separate, annual policy with several advantages:
- Worldwide coverage,
- All risk coverage,
- No waiting period,
- No deductible, primary insurance
- Full replacement value coverage (for items currently being made),
- Below market rates.
Final Thoughts On Gun Collection Insurance
If you’re the type of person who enjoys the outdoors and loves the Second Amendment, you probably already have the foundation of a budding gun collection. We grey-haired folks often don’t realize how many guns we have amassed until we clean a closet or check under all the beds.
A good gun safe can offer a degree of protection for your firearms. However, if you want genuine peace of mind about your gun collection and all those accessories or that special trophy on the wall, consider an insurance policy designed specifically for them.