Gun Owner Insurance

CNBC published an article in February 2018, titled, “Florida Shootings May Complicate Insurance For Gun Owners.”

To start with, gun owners need to know that most homeowner policies are not going to cover situations where a person has to use a gun.  The policies will cover accidents but not other types of occurrences.

The insurance company Chubb has decided to stop underwriting an insurance policy for gun owners called NRA Carry Guard.  This policy covers gun owners in the event they face legal repercussions following firearm incidents.

The policies at issue start at $13.95 per month and provides up to $250,000 in civil protection and $50,000 in criminal defense protection.  The highest policy costs $49.95 per month and includes up to $1.5 million in civil protection and $250,000 in criminal defense protection.

As stated above, since most homeowner policies only cover accidents, the NRA Carry Guard fills in other coverage gaps.

The United States Concealed Carry Association, or USCCA, also provides liability insurance.

“Even in a crystal clear self-defense case, you’re often charged with a crime,” said Tim Schmidt, president and founder of USCCA.

Schmidt says there is a rebirth of new people coming into the concept of wanting to be responsibly armed.

Opponents of the coverage call it “murder insurance.”

Gun owners generally will be covered for liability under their homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies, according to Peter Kochenburger, deputy director of the Insurance Law Center at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Those policies typically do not exclude accidents related to firearms, he said.

However, rules for these policies vary by state.  If an exclusion for gun-related incidents were to be included in a policy, it would need to have been approved by a state’s regulator.

“If you intentionally damage property or injure someone, you don’t get insurance coverage,” Kochenburger said. “We as a society don’t want someone to engage in an illegal act and not have to pay the consequences of their actions.”

In 2013, three states – Massachusetts, New York and Hawaii – tried to make liability insurance mandatory for gun owners, according to Michael Barry, head of media and public affairs at the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded consumer education organization.

“The difficulty is that it would be very difficult for insurers to underwrite,” Barry said. “I think pricing a policy like this would be very difficult to do.”

Individuals who own guns need to think through their insurance coverage, particularly for liability, carefully.  That split second decision of whether to shoot or not, it’s hard to imagine that whether they have insurance or not is a thought in their mind.