Across the country, thousands of responsibly armed Americans are asking what self-defense liability insurance, also called concealed carry insurance, is, how it works, and what it does and doesn’t cover. We’ve provided you with the answers to remove the ambiguity surrounding self-defense liability insurance.
What Is Concealed Carry Insurance?
Known within the industry as self-defense liability insurance, concealed carry insurance is a relatively new concept, bred from the rising number of registered concealed carry permit holders throughout the United States. In the most basic of terms, concealed carry insurance provides legal protection benefits to the holder should he or she ever have to use force in a self-defense or home-defense incident.
The insurance typically provides coverage for your legal representation and defense in the event that you’re subject to a criminal investigation (which is common following a self-defense incident). Such policies may also provide coverage for your defense in civil court proceedings stemming from the self-defense act. It’s a sad fact that even following a case in which no criminal liability was found, the surviving family of the “bad guy” may sue for damages in civil court. And sometimes they win!
Difficulties arising from a self-defense action may include:
- Police investigation (during which the actor could be held in custody)
- Confiscation of the weapon
- Missed school/work
- Lawyer retainer fees
- Bail bonds
- Court appearances
- Possible conviction and sentencing
- Potential civil liability for pain, suffering and other damages
How Does Concealed Carry Insurance Work?
As with other forms of insurance, policies covering acts of self-defense vary by provider and by the level of insurance chosen by each policyholder. Companies may provide funds for legal defense upfront or compensate policyholders only after the case has been settled. Still others do not offer financial assistance at all, instead providing access to a network of on-call lawyers who specialize in self-defense or firearms litigation.
A user would be wise to consult an attorney and to research the concealed carry, home-defense and firearms laws of his or her home state and municipality. It also pays to read the fine print for benefits as well as exclusions and compare companies before deciding on a concealed carry insurance provider.
Major considerations when choosing a concealed carry insurance company should include:
- Criminal defense assistance
- Civil defense assistance
- Up-front or deferred compensation
- Exclusions and disqualifications
- Deductibles or caps on coverage
- Customer service availability
- The option to choose your own lawyer versus drawing from a pool
- Coast-to-coast coverage
Providers of self-defense coverage offer different levels of service and methods of operation. Those may include:
- Group Legal Funds
The premiums paid by subscribers are not backed by an insurance company but are instead pooled to compensate a closed network of preferred lawyers who are then assigned to the case.
- Insurance-Backed Coverage
Policies underwritten by companies with the deep financial pockets necessary to fulfill claims. Just as with other forms of insurance, premiums are a bet against ever having to need the coverage.
- Membership-Based Enrollment
Organizations offer access to a self-defense insurance policy as an additional insured (among other exclusive member-only benefits).
Because not all self-defense encounters involve concealed carry or home-defense firearms, self-defense insurance policies may cover other legal weapons — from hands, knives and OC spray to weapons of opportunity such as umbrellas, bricks or frying pans.
Can I Be Sued If I Use My Concealed Carry Weapon in Self-Defense?
Absolutely. Even if no criminal malfeasance is found, the aggressor or his surviving family may seek compensation in a civil court. Famously, Bernhard Goetz, who shot four Bronx teens in what was deemed to be self-defense on an NYC subway, was cleared on charges of assault, attempted homicide and reckless endangerment (he did go to jail for carrying an unregistered firearm). Years later, one of the men Goetz shot successfully sued him for $43 million.
Am I Required to Carry Liability Insurance for My Concealed Carry Gun Like I Am for My Car?
No. At the moment, there are no states in the U.S. that require a gun owner to carry liability insurance for his or her guns. This is often speculated upon as a potential future requirement by gun-control advocates.
Does CCW Insurance Cover Me If Someone Steals My Gun?
While the specifics of each provider’s policy vary, concealed carry insurance generally focuses on protecting the bearer from legal action in the event of a self-defense incident. Homeowners or renters insurance policies may count firearms as personal property for the sake of claiming loss during a burglary or accident. Make sure to record make, model and serial number of all firearms and other valuables, and keep them stored in a safe place in case of emergency.
Does My Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance Cover Me If I Have to Defend My Home?
You should consult your agent or insurance carrier regarding whether your auto, homeowner’s or umbrella liability insurance policy provides coverage for acts of self-defense. You may be surprised by what you learn; you may not have coverage. Bankrate.com recommends checking policies for a “wrongful acts” clause as well as any mention of home defense, self-defense or reasonable force.
Is There a Better Option that Could Help Me and My Family Be Prepared for What Happens Before, During and After an Act of Self-Defense?
The USCCA helps responsible Americans prepare for what happens before, during and after an act of self-defense. Alongside education and training, the USCCA has purchased an insurance policy providing the association with self-defense liability insurance*. Every USCCA Member is an additional insured on that policy. These benefits provide more than 700,000 USCCA Members with peace of mind. As a USCCA Member, you:
- Get instant access to the best firearms, concealed carry and home-defense training and qualification systems — online with the USCCA Protector Academy or in-person — in the nation (valued at up to $2,900).
- Save time, save money and cut out the guesswork with checklists and guides for everything from fortifying your home to training drills.
- Immediately receive self-defense liability insurance* as an automatic membership benefit.
- Receive world-class customer support and a private number for the Critical Response Team that you can call 24/7/365 in case you’re forced to pull the trigger in self-defense.
- Get rewarded with member-only perks like complimentary shipping, a Concealed Carry Magazine subscription (valued at $79) and complimentary entry to our annual Concealed Carry Expo. You’ll also get discounts of up to 30% on the new gear you want most, from partner brands like SIG Sauer and Galco Gunleather.
- What Makes USCCA Membership Different Than Concealed Carry Insurance?
- 7 Reasons Why Responsible Gun Owners Across the Country Are Joining the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA)
- What Does the USCCA Provide to Help Me Carry With Confidence?
*Insurance has been purchased by the USCCA and is one of the benefits of membership in the USCCA. USCCA members are additional insureds under a policy issued to the USCCA by Universal Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, an insurance company with its principal place of business in Hudsonville, MI. Coverage and benefits are subject to the benefits, conditions, and exclusions of the insurance policy. Information provided herein is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a representation of coverage that may exist in any particular situation. Contact Delta Defense’s Customer Engagement Team at 1-800-674-9779 with any questions.
USCCA Membership is not available to residents of New Jersey, New York or Washington State.
Delta Defense, LLC provides sales, marketing, operations and administrative support services to the USCCA and is a licensed insurance agency in all 50 states and the District of Columbia with its principal office in West Bend, WI. Delta Defense, LLC does business as Delta Defense Insurance Services in California. California License #18671359