View Full Version : Liability Insurance and SD Incidents:

September 13, 2008, 04:21 PM
I had a thread awhile back asking if anyone knew if liability insurance coverage for SD incidents, with firearms, is available. Seemed to be an area that was confusing for people with no sure answers on the thread.

But: I checked with my own State Farm Agency where I have homeowners and car:
I am covered under my present homeowners for such SD incidents (I assume only if you've not been convicted of a crime in such an incident), including those with guns, whether at home or elsewhere. At least that is what the office told me. (As an aside: I took out an umbrella coverage which increased amounts of coverage for liability for car and auto. Not expensive. I recommend this for anyone, SD or no.)

I am sure this is only for liability for civil actions, and not attorney's fees for criminal investigations or criminal defense. (I think the NRA offers some coverage for the latter though not in huge amounts.)

I also will check with my agent himself to make sure this is all true, (it was the office staff that told me), and post if I find anything different.

Anyway, FYI, liability being a serious issue in SD... Sounds like good news.

September 13, 2008, 04:31 PM
The best buy in liability insurance to cover an incident, is to contact your insurance agent who sells your home owners insurance and inquire about an umbrella policy.

In todays market $ 1 million is around $ 125-150..$ 2 million not a lot more.

If you are an NRA member, there are policy's available thru them but not as cheap as an umberlla policy.

I recommend the Umbrella policy to all students in my CCW courses....it is a natural if you choose to CCW.....and a critical incident happens !

Always good to have a plan !

September 14, 2008, 07:52 AM
First of all I am not offering legal adice.

Most Homeowner policies liabiltiy protection, excludes coverage for the intentional infliction of bodily injury. Self defense in many states does constitute an intentional act.

Some policies may afford you a defense, but may not pay any damages that are assessed against an insured.

Your insurance agent may not know the law of your state. If you are concerned check with your attorney.

September 14, 2008, 09:25 AM
In addition to whatever insurance you can find, consider joining the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. (www.armedcitizensnetwork.org) The Network was started by Marty Hayes (full disclosure: good friend of mine), and includes a lot of well-known people: John Farnam, Massad Ayoob, Tom Givens, Jim Cirillo, Jr.

The basic deal is, joining the Network as a member gives you (and your lawyer) access to free and immediate expert advice following a defensive gun use, discounts on training fees and other goodies, access to a vetted attorney referral list consisting of lawyers who are knowledgeable about defensive gun use, and (possibly) help with your legal bills. Financial aid isn't an automatic thing; your case would first be reviewed by a panel of experts to determine if they reasonably believe your actions were not criminal. The panel currently includes Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens, Jim Cirillo, Jr., and ex officio members Marty Hayes and Vincent Shuck.

The Network is not a pre-paid legal plan, and it's not insurance. It is a membership organization allied with a non-profit foundation (20% of member dues go to fund the foundation's war chest). The organization is dedicated to helping certified good guys prepare for foreseeable legal challenges beforehand, and the foundation will be available to help manage the legal situation afterward.

I joined as soon as I heard they were open for business.

Oh, and as you are shopping for insurance, remember that most types of insurance only insures against unforeseen, unintentional acts. But for this, you need insurance against an intentional act, the purposeful act of killing another human being. For example, your homeowners' insurance will not cover you if you purposefully set fire to your own home, but if a fire accidentally starts in the wiring or while you're cooking dinner, it will cover that. Similarly, you'll find that when you query the insurance company as to whether your homeowners' insurance will cover a shooting in your home, it's quite likely the agent will believe you are asking about an accidental or negligent shooting, not about a deliberate shooting in self-defense. Even for those rare types that will cover a deliberate self-defense shooting on the civil side (eg, you got sued), I don't believe you'll find that the insurance will cover the cost of defending yourself against a criminal charge. And yet a lot of your legal costs after a self-defense shooting will be incurred while dealing with the potential or reality of criminal charges.

The NRA does offer this type of insurance to members, but be sure to read the limits carefully.

Hope that helps.


Tennessee Gentleman
September 14, 2008, 11:47 AM
Good post. I used to sell P&C (Property and Casualty) Insurance. You illustrated the real issue in regular homeowners insurance. That is intentional acts.

Umbrella policies, while very advisable and cheap, probably do nothing for you viz-a-viz liability for a self defense shooting. If your underlying liability policy (homeowners) don't cover it then the umbrella will probably not do it either.

The key question to ask your agent is whether your homeowners policy will cover intentional acts which a SD shooting is. Also, ask if your defense costs are unlimited and not concurrent with your coverage limits, meaning that the lawyer bills don't reduce your policy limits by the cost of defense.

Most P&C liability policies have defense cost separate and outside of the policy coverage limits.

I don't think any Homeowners I ever saw covered criminal defense costs.

September 14, 2008, 11:55 AM
I had a 30+ year veteran insurance agent in a CHL class a few years back. He confirmed some of my prior research on the issue. He said that a lot of folks buy an umbrella policy, thinking they are covered with additional "Personal Liability" protection, but those policies can and do often also exclude "intentional acts".

Our range (association) insurance is through the NRA-endorsed carrier and provides up to $50,000 (reimbursement) self defense insurance for CHL members. It is similar to that available through the NRA, but on a "group" basis, not too hard on the budget. Thankfully, no need to use it so far.

Marty Hayes
September 14, 2008, 12:04 PM

Thank-you for the plug for the Network. Since we started taking memberships, we have grown to 400 armed citizens, despite a very small amount of promotion. We are really excited about this project, as it think when we get the requisite number of members, we will be a very vital part of the armed citizen equation.

BTW, you missed Dennis Tueller as a member of the advisory board.


September 14, 2008, 12:15 PM
Dennis Tueller? Excellent! When did that happen ... or has he been there all along & I just missed it?