I was a few weeks away from getting my concealed handgun license when a family friend, an attorney, asked if I had purchased concealed carry insurance. My response: uhhh, what?
I had never heard of such a thing, which was quite surprising given the amount of research I had been doing to prepare myself for gun ownership and concealed carry. I had studied up on shooting, dry fire, concealed carry, holsters, belts, self defense ammo, and so much more. But somehow, concealed carry insurance had never come up in my research. It seemed that no one was talking about what could happen after a self defense incident, and I’ve since learned that this is an incredibly important part of the process to consider.
So, what is concealed carry insurance?
In short, concealed carry insurance, also referred to as firearms liability insurance, provides coverage to help you in the event that you have to use your firearm in a self defense situation. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not just for people with a concealed carry permit. This type of insurance may be suitable for anyone that legally owns a firearm for personal or home defense. There are many companies that offer such insurance and they all vary in the type and amount of coverage provided, which I will get into in a bit.
First, let’s talk about the why.
For me, carrying a firearm and knowing that I have the ability to defend myself if the situation calls for it gives me peace of mind. What I had failed to consider initially is what would happen after I needed to defend myself – not just in the seconds or minutes following an incident, but in the days, weeks, and months to come.
The family friend I mentioned earlier helped me understand that even if I was justified in using lethal force in a self defense situation, I could still be arrested and put in jail pending an investigation of the incident. Civil and/or criminal charges could be brought against me. I could potentially face a long legal battle and even a trial, which can be a huge financial burden – a financial burden that I would likely not be able to take on without putting myself in massive debt.
How the heck would I pay for a lawyer if I needed one?
What I began to realize is that I not only need to be prepared to defend myself physically, but I also need to be prepared for the aftermath if a self defense situation were to occur, and that is where concealed carry insurance comes in.
What should I look for in a concealed carry insurance plan?
Like most types of insurance, there are a lot of options out there and it can be a little overwhelming. It’s important to consider your specific set of circumstances and ensure that your coverage will meet your needs. Here are several things I was looking for in my insurance research just to give you an idea, along with a few important things to consider:
- Up-front funding: provides funds up front to prevent me from having to cover expenses out of pocket and be reimbursed at a later date.
- Attorney retainer & choice of attorney: ensures that I can choose my own attorney and retain them up-front.
- Bail bonds: up-front bail bonds if I’m arrested and jailed.
- Civil & criminal defense: not all insurance covers both! Some will only cover criminal defense, but not civil. I wanted to be sure I was covered for both.
- Coverage for use of all legal weapons: some insurance will provide coverage ONLY if you use a firearm, but will not provide coverage if you use any other legal object in self defense. Since there is no way to predict how a self defense situation will play out or what tools I may have within reach at any given time, this was a particularly important consideration for me.
- Incidental expenses: coverage for incidentals such as lost wages, clean-up and biohazard remediation after an incident, firearm replacement if one is held as evidence, psychological treatment/therapy, or other expenses following an incident.
Slightly off topic for this post, but I do want to touch on one thing from that last bullet point: therapy. Being in a situation that requires you to defend yourself can be traumatic and having to go through that experience, along with using force, lethal or not, can have a lasting psychological effect. In my opinion, mental health is just as important as physical health and it requires effort to maintain. Being able to work through a traumatic or stressful situation with a professional is invaluable and there is absolutely no shame in doing so.
Back to concealed carry insurance… After looking into several options, I decided to go with USCCA, as their coverage met my needs on the items listed above. Like I mentioned before, there are lots of options out there and each company will offer different levels of coverage. USCCA offers several different plans, one of which is right for me at this time, and they also offer the option to change plans if my wants and needs change.
Side note: I am not affiliated with USCCA in any way, and I do not receive any benefits or payment by mentioning them in this post. I am simply sharing my own choice for concealed carry insurance in hopes that it may also help you in your research.
You’ll find this message echoed throughout many of my other posts and I’ll say it again now: carefully consider your circumstances and figure out what is best for you! Determine what kind of coverage you want and need, and then go out and find a plan that meets your wants and needs. And remember, preparedness goes beyond having the means to defend yourself!
Do you have concealed carry insurance? Why or why not? Tell me about your experience in the comments below.
*The information in this post if my own personal philosophy and should not be misconstrued as legal advice or a recommended approach. Do your own research and find an approach that works for you.*