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An estimated 48% of American gun owners say their main purpose of owning a firearm is for personal protection. But what happens if you actually have to use your gun for this purpose? The answer really depends on the situation, but if police get involved, you could be facing legal obstacles and serious life disruptions. The purpose of concealed carry insurance is to give you peace of mind in knowing that you can get access to experienced legal representation.
So, how does insurance work when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon?
What is Concealed Carry Insurance?
Concealed carry insurance protects you if you have to use your firearm in self-defense or to defend someone else’s life. It is more of a liability insurance policy in lieu of a traditional “insurance” coverage.
Most policies cover more than just firearms. If you have to use your hands or another object as a weapon, you should still be covered (policy coverages do vary).
Typically, policies cover the following situations (although the coverage varies by provider):
- Use of deadly force
- Negligent discharge
If you’re a concealed carrier, you know there is always a risk that you will have to use your firearm to protect yourself, your family or even a stranger. And you also know that if you’re forced to use your gun in self-defense, you’re still going to face potential legal consequences.
That’s where concealed carry insurance, or CCW insurance, comes in. CCW insurance will cover most of the costs associated with using your firearm in self-defense, primarily your costs for legal representation and defense.
Some policies may also provide coverage for defense in civil court proceedings related to the self-defense act. Policies that have this coverage are beneficial because, sadly, even when no criminal liability is found, families may still try to sue for damages in civil court.
It’s important to note that the level of coverage varies from one company to the next. Some policies provide legal defense coverage upfront, while others will reimburse you for the cost of your defense after the case is settled. Then there are policies that don’t offer any financial assistance, instead of providing you with access to on-call lawyers who specialize in firearms litigation and self-defense cases.
Is it Legal?
Yes. It is legal to carry self defense insurance, but it’s not required by law.
At this time, no states require concealed carriers to have insurance.
Do I Need Insurance To Carry A Concealed Weapon?
Insurance isn’t required by law, but it could keep you out of jail and from going bankrupt. If you have to use your firearm in self-defense, here are some self-defense action considerations:
There will be a police investigation – no question about that. And you may be held in custody if you pulled the trigger.
At this point, you will want a criminal or civil defense attorney present. You do not want to answer police questions without your attorney for your own legal protection.
Confiscation of Your Handgun
Police will almost certainly confiscate your handgun, and it will be added to evidence. You should receive a receipt, and you should be able to retrieve your handgun after the investigation (assuming no criminal liability is found).
Suspect Will Give a Statement
If the suspect survived and is in the hospital, he or she will be taken into police custody pending the results of the investigation.
The suspect will also give a statement to the police, and that statement will be admitted as evidence.
Analysis of the Crime Scene and Legal Penalties
At this stage, police will be investigating the scene, trying to piece together what happened. If the police have no evidence that you committed a crime or reason to detain you any further, you may be released.
But if an investigator believes there is evidence of a crime, you may be detained and charged with that crime. If you don’t already have an attorney at this stage, you better get one.
If you’re charged with a crime, here are some of the stages you will potentially go through:
- Bail hearing
- Jury selection
- Sentencing (if convicted)
You don’t want to put your future in the hands of a public defense attorney. You want an experienced attorney who specializes in self-defense cases like yours.
But here’s the problem: hiring an attorney independently is extremely expensive. Depending on the case, you could be looking at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on your defense. IS your freedom worth that cost? Absolutely. But do you have that kind of money on hand? Probably not.
If you have the right CCW insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about these legal costs – they’re covered by your policy.
Other Things to Consider
You know that CCW insurance may provide coverage for legal costs if you have to use your weapon in self-defense. But many of you are wondering whether you really need to spend the money on yet another insurance policy.
For many of you, concealed carry insurance is worth considering. But CCW insurance isn’t for everyone. Here are some things to consider:
- Homeowner’s insurance: Take a look at your homeowner’s insurance policy. You may already be covered by your policy if you have to discharge your weapon within your home (known as “self-defense” or “reasonable force” clauses). Homeowner’s insurance won’t cover you if you have to use your weapon in a public place, but knowing what type of coverage you have (if any) will help you better weigh your options when choosing CCW insurance.
- Location: If you live in a big city with a high population, there’s a greater risk that you’ll need to use your firearm in self-defense. On the other hand, if you live in a rural area with a very small population, the risk of having to use your weapon in self-defense is much lower. You’ll also want to consider your area’s crime rate. You may live in a small town, but if the crime rate is high, you may want to have extra insurance protection.
- Personal preference: If you’re the type of person who likes to be prepared for the worst, it may give you peace of mind to have CCW insurance.
A CCW insurance policy can provide several benefits to policyholders:
#1 – Legal Defense Coverage Assistance
The most obvious benefit of a CCW insurance policy is the legal defense coverage it provides. Now, different providers have different policies and types of coverage.
Depending on your policy, you may receive:
- Upfront payment to your attorney for immediate representation
- Assistance with bail
- Additional funding for legal expenses
- Reimbursement for your legal representation after the investigation is settled
- Access to a network of lawyers who specialize in self-defense and firearms litigation
As mentioned previously, some insurance policies don’t actually give you any financial assistance. They simply provide access to competent attorneys. While not technically an insurance policy in the traditional sense, memberships with these organizations do have their perks. If you need a lawyer, you know where to get one – and you can be sure that your attorney has experience with self-defense cases.
#2 – Educational Benefits
Most CCW insurance companies also provide members with educational materials for safety and training. Some provide DVDs, others send out books, and some offer one-on-one training or workshops.
These educational materials are extremely valuable. If you need to use your gun, you want to be confident that you can use it safely and effectively.
#3 – Peace of Mind
Perhaps the greatest benefit of concealed carry insurance is peace of mind. If you’re forced to use your weapon in self-defense, you shouldn’t have to worry about how you’ll pay for legal representation. You’ve already gone through enough stress just dealing with an intruder or attacker.
How much is this going to cost me?
That’s probably the first question you asked when you started reading this post. And you’re probably thinking that this kind of coverage is expensive. Legal representation is expensive, so insurance that would cover your representation would be expensive, right?
CCW insurance is more affordable than you might think.
- Costs can range from $10-$50 per month.
Some insurers charge monthly fees, but others want an upfront payment for the year (called an annual membership fee).
Whether you pay monthly or yearly, I think we can all agree that it’s a small price to pay for your peace of mind and to protect your freedom.
What to Look for When Shopping Policies
If you’re considering CCW insurance, you may be wondering what to look for when choosing a policy. If you know someone who already has coverage, you may want to ask for their firearm insurance recommendations. Ask about their coverage, what it offers, how much it costs and if they’re happy with it.
If you don’t know anyone who has coverage, here are some things to consider.
Financial Assistance, or Attorney Network Access?
Do you want a policy that will cover the cost of your representation, or do you just want access to a network of attorneys?
This is an important consideration and one that you’ll need to weigh carefully. If you don’t think you can cover the cost of representation yourself, make sure that you choose a policy that does offer financial assistance.
What Does the Policy Cover?
When comparing insurance policies, there are a few things you need to consider:
- If there’s a Criminal Defense Fund, will the policy pay the upfront attorney retainer? If so, how much will they pay?
- Is there a Civil Defense Fund that will cover legal costs if the perpetrator’s family (or the perpetrator himself) decides to sue you?
- What types of weapons are covered by the policy? Is it firearms only? Are only certain types of firearms covered? Are other weapons, like knives, covered?
- Do you have access to a call center? If you need to use your firearm and you’re arrested, you can make a phone call. The call you make should be to your insurance company to get you in touch with a lawyer.
- Is there an “If Found Guilty” clause? If so, you could be on the hook for all legal representation costs if you’re found guilty of any offense in connection with the event.
- Is the company responsive? Is their customer support team helpful?
It’s important to get as much information as you can about the policy before you commit to becoming a member.
Finally, you want to consider your coverage limits. Will the policy be able to adequately cover the cost of your defense? If not, you could find yourself on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
If you have your CCW, you’re probably pretty excited. You can finally put on that fancy holster you purchased and conceal carry. Protecting yourself from a threat is easier than ever before, but one you pull the trigger, your life will change.
- There may be psychological impacts.
- Charges may be filed against you.
- You may have to go to court.
- You may have to pay the attacker or their family for protecting yourself.
It’s unfair, but it happens every day. Concealed carry insurance protects you from these lawsuits and misjustice.
You shouldn’t have to suffer from financial repercussions or even prison sentences because you decided to pull the trigger to protect your family.
The right policy will protect you and your family from the long-lasting consequences you face.
What is the Best Concealed Carry Liability Insurance Policy?
USCCA is the leader in concealed carry membership and education. The insurer protects you in several ways well beyond providing payment for civil and criminal matters.
First things first, the USCCA is not an insurance company. They have policy from the Universal Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.
This policy provides the USCCA members with self-defense liability insurance. Like any other policy, this liability policy is subject to its terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions.
Here is a full breakdown of the liability coverage.
USCCA has three main tiers:
- Gold – $25/month *billed annually
- Platinum – $34/month *billed annually
- Elite – $42/month *billed annually
Elite is the best tier, but it’s also the most expensive membership option available.
Membership Benefits for Everyone
Key benefits are available across all membership levels:
- Training: Concealed Carry Magazine provides training on guns, gear and tactics. You’ll also receive 15+ self-defense guides, gain access to a certified trainer portal, and also gain access to videos on self-defense.
- Legal Protection: USCCA provides 24/7/365 emergency access, upfront attorney retainers and bail funding and legal protection for all of the legal weapons you own.
- Member Perks: USCCA provides award-winning service and provides membership discounts on gear, too.
All of these base benefits are great, but they do change based on the membership tier that you purchase.
The level of coverage and exact benefits include:
- One-year online access to all back issues
- 15 digital guides and eBook