Self-defense Insurance

As a gun owner, you might be wondering if you should have some form of self-defense insurance. Whether you’ve been debating the pros and cons of getting coverage or are considering a new plan, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s consider the most common reasons you might need or want self-defense insurance.

What Is Self-Defense Insurance?

“Self-defense insurance” gives you access to a network of qualified attorneys in case of a self-defense incident. Generally speaking, it’s basically a membership in an organization that facilitates connecting you with a criminal defense attorney and helps offset some of the expenses. Some self-defense insurance assigns an attorney to you while others have you choose your own, although they might supply a list of recommendations. For the purposes of easily relatable language, we’ll refer to it as self-defense insurance for the duration of this article.

What Is Carry Coverage?

It can be closer in reality to call this form of protection for law-abiding gun owners “carry coverage.”  Generally speaking, what this coverage gives you is access to qualified criminal defense attorneys, phone numbers for emergency and non-emergency calls, and variable levels of financial coverage related to legal fees. The specific details depend on the organization and coverage you select. This is also sometimes referred to as concealed carry coverage or home defense insurance.

Do I Need Self-Defense Insurance If I Have a Carry Permit?

Having a carry permit doesn’t mean you’re legally required to have self-defense insurance. Whether or not to get coverage is a personal choice, but it’s a decision that’s easier to make when you have all the facts.

It’s worth mentioning that the city of San José, California, is the first place in the country to pass a law requiring gun liability coverage for gun owners, which isn’t the same thing as self-defense insurance. According to the city government website:

Mayor Liccardo has proposed common-sense solutions to reduce gun harm, and to shift the financialburdens from taxpayers and victims, back to gun owners. San José will become the first city in the nation to require gun owners to pay a yearly fee and carry Liability insurance. Fees shall be levied and collected by a non-profit foundation established to distribute all fee revenue to community-based programs focused on reducing gun violence.

Liability insurance, like what will be required in San José, isn’t the same as carry coverage and the two shouldn’t be confused.

Why Do I Need Self-Defense Insurance?

Having self-defense insurance can be a wise choice for numerous reasons, including:

  • Being prepared prior to a self-defense scenario gives you peace of mind
  • Protection from the significant financial impact of certain legal fees
  • Access to educational information on self-defense, home defense, and concealed carry issues
  • The ability to call and ask qualified attorneys non-emergency questions about self-defense and firearms law

Is Self-Defense Insurance Expensive?

How much money it costs to get self-defense insurance coverage depends on the plan. The more all-encompassing the plan, the greater the cost, but can you really put a price on peace of mind? It’s true that you may never need the coverage but if you do need it, it’s far better to have access to an attorney and a plan in place. Otherwise, your family and friends could end up scrambling to locate a qualified criminal defense attorney through an internet search, and then having to come up with the money to retain the attorney’s services (for a start). It costs less moneyto pay to have coverage in place than it does to come up with thousands of dollars at a second’s notice in the aftermath of a self-defense shooting.

Will Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Self-Defense?

Generally speaking, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover self-defense. Before assuming your existing insurance policy covers home defense, check the company’s policy. As a general rule, the insurance you carry for your residence only covers legal and medical fees related to accidental injury, meaning it excludes self-defense situations. Do your homework. It’s important to know the specifics of your policies.

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Do Concealed Carriers Need Self-Defense Insurance?

Having access to qualified attorneys is a great idea whether you carry your gun for self-defense purposes or not. Maybe you keep your gun at home for home defense use, or maybe you mostly hunt. All gun owners can benefit from having self-defense insurance regardless of whether they practice concealed carry.

What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?

It can be confusing to realize a criminal defense attorney is what you’d need in case of a self-defense situation. After all, you’re not a criminal, so why would you need a lawyer whose specialty is criminal defense?

Criminal defense simply refers to the field that handles alleged criminal incidents, which may include events involving use of force and self-defense. Yes, they also handle things that are truly criminal in nature, but the specific legal specialty covers the entire area. One of the reasons for that is because your claim of self-defense will be used in response to a criminal allegation (if that happens). To properly and fully defend yourself from criminal allegations or charges, you need a good criminal defense attorney. Generally speaking, your typical family lawyer or tax attorney aren’t as well-qualified for this purpose.

When Should I Get Self-Defense Insurance?

In order to be covered in a self-defense situation, you need to have coverage already in place. This is true for all companies. Just as with any service, your plan and policies must exist to be used. That means signing up for coverage sooner rather than later. After all, you can’t control the time or place you might be attacked and given no choice but to use force, up to and including lethal force, to defend yourself. Only the bad guys control that.

What Does Self-Defense Insurance Cover?

The details of what specific policies cover in cases of self-defense depends on the plan. Different companies have various levels of plans in place; some companies use add-ons to a basic package while others have a variety of tiers of coverage. Take the time to learn about the policy you’re considering. Read everything and ask questions as needed.

A good example of something to be aware of is that most, if not all, policies don’t automatically cover a spouse or minor child. For someone to be covered under a self-defense insurance plan, they need to be signed up as a member. The plan covers the person engaging in self-defense, not the property, location, or vehicle. Self-defense insurance provides the resources necessary for assistance centered around a self-defense incident, but it generally doesn’t “insure” anyone or anything the way car insurance covers a vehicle.

The fine print of a self-defense insurance plan matters. Always read documents in their entirety before signing. There are a lot of options in the industry for self-defense coverage and it’s wise to take the time to consider what’s best for you and your family.

What Else Should I Know About Self-Defense Insurance?

If you’re ever in a situation where you have no choice but to use force to defend yourself, you may or may not face criminal charges. Simply because something seems like a clear case of self-defense to you—or to the general public—doesn’t mean you won’t be charged with anything. Even if you aren’t charged, or if you’re charged but those charges are dropped, or you’re found not guilty, civil court can still be a problem. Civil lawsuits are different than criminal charges brought in criminal court and are something to keep in mind as a gun owner. Being cleared of one doesn’t automatically protect you from the other. Coverage should include civil matters related to self-defense too, not only criminal ones.

The bottom line is that although getting self-defense coverage is a personal choice, it’s something to seriously consider having as a law-abiding gun owner. No, there’s no legal requirement to have it, but having a plan in place gives you peace of mind and provides protection for you from the staggering financial cost of legal fees associated with obtaining a criminal defense attorney and/or a civil defense attorney.

Owning firearms for personal defense can be compared to having a fire extinguisher in that you have one and hope you never need it, but it’s a tool you want to have ready. Self-defense coverage is similar. Better to have a planready in case you need it than be caught off-guard and ill-prepared.

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The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.