Gun Insurance – The Complete Guide
America has more guns per capita than any nation in the world. According to recent statistics, there are approximately 466 million guns in the U.S., with almost half of U.S. households owning at least one firearm. With gun ownership comes a lot of responsibility and the acknowledgement that accidents and incidents involving firearms can and do happen. For this reason, gun insurance is a wise investment. Many believe their homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for incidents involving their firearm, but that is not always the case and even if they do have coverage, it may not be enough.
Cole Cushman, co-founder of Gun & Trophy Insurance, says gun insurance is designed to protect gun owners and the people around them in case of accidents, theft, or other unforeseen events involving firearms. Policies provide financial protection or legal assistance when firearm-related incidents occur.
Understanding The Different Types Of Gun Insurance
There are different types of gun insurance policies for various scenarios with varying benefits and limitations to consider. The types of insurance are tailored to different aspects of gun ownership and potential risks.
Concealed Carry Insurance
Concealed carry insurance provides coverage in situations where a legally concealed firearm is involved in self-defense incidents or “stand your ground” uses. Depending on the type of policy you choose, your gun liability insurance will provide you with legal defense, pay damages, attorney retainer, defense costs, and more.
“It is designed to defend you when a lawsuit is brought for the intentional use of a firearm. Owning and using a firearm can lead to civil lawsuits for bodily harm or property damage, regardless of criminal charges or acquittal. Be aware of the legal consequences,” Cushman said.
Gun Owner’s (Personal) Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is included in all homeowners policies which may provide some coverage for a gun owners accidental or negligent use.
“What homeowners insurance companies don’t like about firearms is their potential to trigger a liability lawsuit. All homeowners policies include property insurance as well as liability insurance including defense costs. Claims targeting gun owners who have had guns stolen from them are on the rise. Allegations of ‘failure to protect the public’ or ‘negligent storage’ or variations thereof are cropping up when a stolen firearm is used in a violent crime. Accordingly, this type of loss under a homeowner’s policy may result in a cancellation or non-renewal of the policy,” he said.
Gun Collection Insurance
“Gun collection insurance provides property coverage which protects an individual’s investment against physical loss of owned property. It’s similar to insuring jewelry or fine art. While coverage terms differ by company, most will cover the value of a stolen gun or other losses such as damage while traveling,” Cushman said.
Many gun owners believe homeowner’s policies provide adequate coverage for firearms; however, it’s easy to miss that most policies limit coverage for the theft of guns to a maximum of $5,000. Total. Not for each gun. “When looking over your homeowners insurance or other gun-collection policy, take note of the coverages, limitations and exclusions. Take note of the off-premise coverage. Many insurance companies won’t cover shipping or they might have limitations, such as required signatures before coverage would be triggered. There may be limitations when traveling or specific perils might have sub-limit. Look at the max per item you’ll receive. Do all items need to be scheduled or can a blanket unscheduled limit be used to limit? If a company is using a blanket insurance limit, there might be a limit of $10,000-$20,000 per item. Understand the valuation being paid at claim time and what each really means. Is it Actual Cash Value? Replacement Cost? Fair Market Value? or Agreed/Stated Value? — as Insurers will handle the same claim very different,” Cushman said.
Why Do You Need Gun Insurance?
Gun insurance can provide a number of benefits, including financial protection, legal assistance, peace of mind and asset protection.
Liability insurance provides financial security in situations where lawsuits, medical bills, or property damage stem from firearm-related incidents. Without insurance, these expenses can be financially devastating.
“Gun collection insurance is for anyone who wants to protect their financial interest as they would with their home or any other valuable item. A homeowner’s policy carries very limited coverage for both liability and collection, which is important to consider when balancing risk tolerance and available risk transfer options.
Liability coverage extends to protect lawsuits from third parties who may be affected by firearm accidents, such as bystanders or friends. In cases of self-defense or accidental discharge, legal representation is a must. Gun insurance usually includes legal assistance, so gun owners have the support they need during legal proceedings.
Peace Of Mind For Firearm Owners
Having insurance coverage can offer the gun owner peace of mind, allowing him or her to focus on responsible firearm ownership without constant worry about potential liabilities.
Coverage For Various Situations
Gun insurance can come in handy for a variety of situations, such as accidental discharge, theft or loss from the home, self-defense incidents, negligent storage, breakage, damage or loss during transportation and legal defense.
Choosing The Best Gun Insurance For You
While gun insurance can provide valuable protection, there are several important considerations for gun owners to keep in mind. Since gun laws can vary significantly from state to state, you must understand your home state’s specific requirements and regulations, because they can impact the type of insurance you need and the available coverage. Pay attention to policy exclusions and limitations as some policies may not cover intentional acts, criminal activity, or incidents involving certain types of firearms. Many insurance policies may require gun owners to take certain precautions, such as storing firearms safely in gun safes or using trigger locks. Failure to follow these requirements could affect coverage.
“It’s up to you to do your due diligence to make sure you’re selecting the best policy for your needs. There are a number of different resources you can access. A Google search will lead you to a wealth of information. There are also a number of great firearm forums where experts can offer their advice on the subject. Talk to your friends and seek their advice. Just keep in mind that historically, options have been limited and prices have all been around the same, but anyone that is paying more than $50 per $10,000 to cover their collection should shop the options,” Cushman said.
Evaluating Your Needs
“When deciding what type of policy you need, consider your own risk mitigation mechanisms, such as whether you have a safe or alarm system. You’ll also want to consider the amount you’re willing to absorb in the case of a total loss. In addition to security, you’ll want to consider the frequency of use, type of collection you have, and whether or not that $10,000 gun spends most of the time in a vault or on the road as you compete in sporting clays or trap shooting tournaments,” Cushman said.
Comparing Policies And Providers
Cushman emphasizes that forums, such as Trapshooters.com, Shotgunworld.com and snipershide.com are some of the best places to compare polices and providers. “Forum users who go through a number of carriers will discuss the topic in detail. Podcasts also cover the topic. There’s not a lot of literature out there because for years, all insurance companies more or less charged the same. You’ll just need to do your due diligence and research,” Cushman said.
Factors Affecting Premiums
Cushman said at Gun & Trophy Insurance, the only thing that affects the premium is the collection size and collection deductible. Other than that, the rates are the same. Some insurance companies may give credits for things like safes or burglar alarms, but they won’t be significant. What the company includes or includes excludes has an effect. For example, some companies may exclude flood losses. Pay attention to the fine print.
Customizable Options And Riders
Cushman explains that historically, insurance companies have always wanted to itemize individual firearms. Now, some carriers offer a combination of scheduling for more expensive items and the ease of a blanket insurance limit or unscheduled limit to cover every other item under a certain threshold of say $10,000 per item. This promotes privacy and keeps an individual’s firearm list from being distributed to third parties. It also increases the ease of purchasing coverage.
“But some gun owners are just old-fashioned and want to see every single item listed. Older gun owners often use the insurance as their inventory or schedule. If an individual gun is valued at more than $10,000, then it has to be scheduled in our program.
Gun Insurance FAQs
Cushman said his company gets asked a number of questions, and most of them are answered on the Gun & Trophy website FAQ page.
Do I need gun insurance?
“If your firearms collection is valued more than $10,000, then I would suggest getting insurance,” Cushman said.
Are guns covered by homeowner’s insurance?
Guns are covered under your homeowners policy, but there is a limit to the coverage. There is a section of all homeowners’ insurance that restricts the amounts payable under the policy for the peril of theft.
Liability lawsuits targeting gun owners who have had guns stolen from them are on the rise. Allegations of “failure to protect the public” or “negligent storage” or variations thereof are cropping up when a stolen firearm is used in a violent crime. Defense is provided under a homeowners policy without limit as well. This type of loss under a homeowner’s policy may result in a cancellation or non-renewal of the policy.
Does owning a gun affect insurance?
“Insurers are increasingly canceling policies after minimal gun property claims. In the case of a $1000 lost Glock, they’re canceling the policy because they are worried about the liability associated with the insured customer and owner of the gun,” Cushman said.
What does gun insurance cover?
Gun & Trophy insurance policies cover accessories, such as stock and grips, bayonets, flashlights that attach to a covered firearm, barrel-mounted suppressors, sights, scopes, spotting scopes, magnified or non-magnified optics, red dot or reflex sights, holographic sights, lasers, other optics designed for aiming or sighting of firearms, slings, holsters, cases, or boxes designed for the carrying or transport of firearms, bipods and tripods designed for the use with covered firearms, magazines, clips, links, or other devices designed for the feeding of ammunition into a covered firearm, shotgun chokes, sub-gauge tube sets, and binoculars.
The Bottom Line On Gun Insurance
Gun insurance is a valuable asset for responsible gun owners, providing financial protection and legal assistance in case of firearm-related incidents, theft, damage or loss. Individuals can choose one of many available policies that align with their specific needs and circumstances providing them with peace of mind and the knowledge that they are prepared for the unexpected.