Americans buy insurance for a lot of things:
homes, cars, their health care—even their lives. But what about
firearms? Homeowner’s insurance can provide coverage but . . . it’s
As a firearm owner, there are special
considerations that must be made when purchasing homeowner’s insurance.
When determining the total coverage amount needed to protect your home
and possessions, you should consider the value of your firearms
separately. Additionally, attention must be paid as to whether or not
your policy provides adequate coverage should someone be injured or
killed by a gun.
Many insurers limit
the amount of loss you can claim should your weapons be damaged or
stolen. For example, a standard limit of $1,500 – $2,500 may be imposed
per personal property claim. To determine your limits of coverage, read
through the fine print of your policy. If your home is burglarized,
would that amount cover the cost to replace your firearms? If you own
multiple guns, customized firearms,
shooting accessories, rare or antique weapons, the likely answer is
“no”. To obtain additional coverage, your insurance company may offer a
rider, also known as a scheduled
personal property endorsement. A rider offers additional coverage for
specific items of value, such as jewelry, antiques or firearms. The
company will likely require a list of firearms and their appraised value
to secure this coverage.
Owning firearms brings the added
responsibility of making sure you are adequately covered in the event of
a tragic accident. While I trust you take all necessary precautions to
prevent an unintentional shooting, being a responsible gun owner means
you must acknowledge accidents do happen. Most
insurance policies cover injury or death due to accidental firearms
discharge the same as any other accident. However, the standard liability limit for many
policies is $100,000. Should the worst happen, the cost of
medical bills and potential payouts for pain, suffering and attorney’s
fees can easily top that. Many major insurances companies cap the amount
of liability coverage available on a standard policy and some also have
exclusions to firearm coverage.
Check with your insurer to determine the scope of these
Beyond the coverage offered through a traditional homeowner’s
policy, you can purchase supplemental insurance especially for guns. Policies for firearms are
available for upwards of $1,000,000. These policies cover repair or
replacement of firearms and accessories as well as liability coverage
for unintentional shootings at home, the range or while hunting.
Supplemental coverage can also cover unexpected claims. For instance, if
one of your guns is stolen and used to commit
a crime, expanded liability protection would come in handy should a
negligence lawsuit be filed against you for allegedly failing to
properly secure your firearm.
A note of importance: homeowner’s
policies exclude intentional shootings
from coverage, even in cases of home or self-defense. For example, if
you shoot an intruder and the criminal or their family then sues you, it
is NOT covered. These policies cost more than standard insurance, but
most cover bail bonding, legal defense, medical and counseling bills,
and attorney referral. The peace of mind a personal liability insurance
policy offers often outweighs the monetary cost.