Do I Need CCW or Self Defense Insurance?
So you’ve decided to get your CCW or CHP in your state for protection? You selected a handgun, went through training, and are prepared for the worst.
Well, the worst just happened and you had to use deadly force to protect your family. What now? You’re covered, right? You’re going to be OK, right?
We all hear horror stories about the legal nightmares that occur after a deadly CCW or self defense incident. Just recently I came across a story about a gentleman who was staying at his parents house once night, and he was forced to shoot an intruder that forcibly entered the home. The intruder survived and sued the gentleman for a ridiculous sum of money. The case was eventually thrown out of court, but not before the man had racked up an $85,000 legal bill to defend himself against the suit. You can read the entire story here: http://sonsoflibertymedia.com/intruder-shot-now-homeowner-struggles-85000-legal-bills-intruder-sues/.
Stories like these abound over the internet, so the question really becomes “are you financially prepared for such an incident”? The answer to that question gives us an opportunity to look further into specialized insurance, commonly called self defense insurance, CCW insurance, or concealed carry insurance. As the CCW movement has spread across the US, a number of insurance providers are now offering specialized plans to cover CCW holders.
For starters, it’s important to understand that the effectiveness of this type of insurance varies from state to state, so it’s important to understand how your own state interprets this type of insurance and coverage that comes along with it. Many states have a “stand your ground” provision and that provision may (or may not) protect you against any potential civil actions. It’s certainly suggested that you speak with a versed CCW attorney in your home state to ensure that you are clear on the laws that apply to your individual situation.
Before delving deep in the different coverage options, make sure you first look at the coverage options on your homeowners insurance (assuming you have this) as this may offer some coverage for an incident that occurs at your residence, but it won’t offer coverage anywhere else.
So what does a CCW policy typically cover? Most cover something along these lines (in no particular order):
- Use of Force/Deadly Force
- Accidental or Negligent Discharge
- Lawful Self Defense (with lawful) being the key word there
- Personal Firearms use (a general term that covers you while you are engaged in activities like shooting at the range or skeet shooting)
From what I’ve seen, buying CCW insurance is no different than shopping for medical insurance. It’s all about what’s covered, the fine print, and how much is covered. Now here’s the kicker, not every policy covers you for everything listed above, and some won’t cover you for any of it if you are found guilty of a crime.
Here are some of the more important details within these policies that you need to be aware of:
Cap or ceiling – All the policies we going to mention later in this article have a maximum benefit, called a cap or ceiling (sound familiar to medical insurance?). The cap rate will vary from plan to plan, and some plans have tiered level of coverage with higher cap rates. For example, a “gold” plan for one carrier has a cap rate of $250,000 for criminal defense, while their less expensive “silver” plan has a cap rate of $100,000 for criminal defense. When shopping for a plan, pay close attention to the cap rates as a attorney fees in a high profile criminal or civil case can get to $100,000 very quickly.
Bail or Bond – Should you be involved in a case where there’s reasonable doubt as to your actions, you “could” be face charges. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, you could have to pay an expensive bail or bond amount to get out prior to your trial. Does your policy cover this amount or offer reimbursement?
Geographical coverage – Let’s face it, most of us with CCW permits travel armed, so look for a policy that covers you regardless of where you are. A policy that is limited to your home state is useless when you travel.
Criminal & Civil Court Costs – There’s a big difference between criminal and civil court, so make sure you go with a policy that covers both the criminal and civil side of the fence. If you go with a policy that only offers criminal defense help, then you are on your own financially in a civil case.
Attorney retainer Fees – Most decent attorney’s require an upfront retainer to take a case and the bigger the case, the bigger the retainer. Look for a policy that offers retainer fee coverage, or at a minimum, reimbursement.
Not Guilty Clause – Make sure you read the underwriting fine print as some policies will only pay out if you are found not guilty. A guilty verdict makes the entire policy null and void.
Who’s covered – Does the policy cover just you or is your spouse covered as well? Most policies are geared towards an individual, but some cover spouses as well, or offer a rider where spouses can be added at a smaller cost.
So here are the most popular and well known CCW insurance carriers currently on the market. And to be perfectly clear, Gunner’s Alley isn’t affiliated with any of these, nor do we receive any compensation or otherwise from any of these places. This list is just so you know what’s available on the market today:
In addition to actual insurance policies, there are also pre-paid legal services to consider as well as self defense membership groups like the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.
So how do you choose the best one?
We suggest using the same approach that most people take when buying any type of insurance:
- Look at the policy itself, including the cap rates
- Look at who underwrites the policy (many are underwritten by Lockton Affinity who is affiliated with the NRA)
- Read the fine print
So to answer the original question that was posed: Do I need CCW insurance?
Honestly, your chances of ever really needing CCW insurance is pretty small, but these types of supplemental insurance polices can be worth their weight in gold if you have a deadly force or self defense situation.
We would love to hear from anyone who has first hand experience with any of these policy providers or ever had to engage their policy.