Most gun owners view the possession of a firearm in the gun safe or concealed carried as our insurance against those who would harm us. What if the unexpected happened? What if you are forced to use your firearm in self-defense? Well, since you are a legally armed citizen, you just show up in court and prove that you met all the legal requirements to justify using deadly force. Then the court rules in your favor and life goes on… not quite. Sounds real simple but I guarantee that it’s not! Just the word “court” is complicated and expensive. Even though the court may rule that you are innocent of any criminal charges the family of the deceased can take further action and file a civil suit for wrongful death resulting in even more time and money.
Insurance companies are now offering concealed carry and self-defense insurance policies just for such occasions. Since this has become so popular, there are several coverage options and several providers to choose from.
When choosing a policy, do your homework. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have clauses that may either enable or prevent your current plan from covering you in a self-defense scenario on your own property. So consider any coverage you may already have through your homeowner’s insurance.
You need to also understand what the state laws are and how they can protect you in certain situations. However, word of caution these laws are always changing so you need to stay abreast of what they are at all times. A lot of states have Stand Your Ground laws that protect individuals against civil suits in lawful self-defense situations. Most of the time, these laws make it unlikely that you will face a civil suit when rightfully defending yourself.
Consider the different types of coverage. Of course, the higher the premium, the more coverage you get. Many plans will cover your legal bills for civil cases up to the plan limit. For criminal trials, most plans only offer reimbursement for money spent defending yourself. Several insurance plans will not provide any money upfront and will only pay if you are found not guilty. With all this in mind, it important to understand exactly what you are getting.
A few other things to consider is how much coverage you feel you might need based upon where you live. Going to court in one jurisdiction versus another can be very different and can costs various amounts. Find out if the plan provides an attorney for you or if it allows you to pick the attorney you feel will best represent you. Will the plan cover fees for an expert witness and are the fees provided up front or reimbursed? Does the plan offer a list of resources such as expert witness? And determine if the plan covers your family members during a self-defense incident within your home using your firearm.