Firearms & Personal Liability

In today’s uncertain times, people turn to firearms for family protection.  It seems a day does not go by when some sick individual preys on the innocent.  As humans we naturally feel violated, threatened and fear for our safety and the safety of our families.

Many people own a firearms for protection or hunting.  Others think owning a firearm somehow sets our society back in time to wild, wild, west.  I’m not going to debate the 2nd Amendment (which I am a firm believer of, an NRA member and a right to carry permit holder), no, what I’m going to do is discuss how insurance plays a role for firearm owners.  We know there are millions of firearms in circulation but we do not hear much about how insurance can play a role in your protection.

There are two parts of insurance for your firearms.  One is to protect it from damage.  Simple, just talk to your insurance agent and they can add it to the policy.  We can talk about that coverage in depth later.  What I want to discuss is this, does your homeowner’s insurance liability policy respond in the event of a firearm discharge?  We have two scenarios.  Carrying a firearm away from home and you have a discharge, or a firearm discharge in your home like in a home invasion.  I’m going to discuss the home invasion.  There are many insurance companies, but they are not all alike.  The insurance policies I sell to my clients are reviewed by me for just this type of need.  We look for coverage or an exclusion buyback so we have liability regarding the use of firearms.  When you discharge your firearm it comes with serious consequences.  Criminal and personal liability.  Your insurance policy must be sure to have the coverage to defend you personally for any lawsuits that arise, criminal is something else.  As I said before, not all insurance companies are the same.  There are many out there that do not cover you if a firearm is discharged.  You’re thinking no… really?  Yup it’s true.  Take out your policy and read the liability section to see if you have coverage or exclusions regarding firearms.  One of my insurance companies has language in their liability section under the exclusions sections that has a “buy back of coverage”.  It reads, “…this exclusion does not apply to “bodily injury” or “property damage” that arises out of the use of reasonable force to protect people or property”.  What this means is the policy “will” respond to bodily injury or property damage if you are protecting your family and/or your property.  Remember every claim is different, not all home invasions are the same.  You must remember the word “reasonable force” and the meaning behind those words.  You shoot a bad guy in the back after he broke into your home and they were not coming for you or your family, then more than likely criminal charges will be forth coming as well as civil.  In addition, you would not have any insurance protection as the insurance policy will not respond because your action was deemed, “not reasonable”.  Flip that around, a bad guy breaks in, has a weapon, coming for you and your family and your firearm is discharged, the insurance policy should see this as reasonable force.  Heck, most people would see this as reasonable force.  Now nothing is set in stone, there is no guaranty of coverage as laws and perceptions change daily, and guess what, so do insurance policies.

If this topic is concerning then please give me a call and let’s set up a time to sit down and see what you have for coverage.  If we find you policy does not provide the coverage you want, my agency can find you something that makes sense for you and your family.

Mike