There is one thing that often is overlooked by most concealed carry license holders. I hope you haven’t forgotten about it. I am talking about concealed carry insurance. Most concealed carry license holders have no idea what is going to happen should they ever have to draw and fire that gun. At that moment, your life and your family’s life change forever. You have now entered the world of the justice system and the courts.
There are things you should know now about concealed carry insurance, how it works, what it can do, and why you should have a concealed carry policy. There are several companies in the United States offering concealed carry insurance. Each has its pros and cons. Before you shop for a concealed carry Insurance policy, here is what you should know about concealed carry insurance.
Why Do I Need Concealed Carry Insurance?
Two main reasons leap out almost instantly – finances and freedom. In some jurisdictions, you may end up in jail even though you were justified in using your gun. You are going to need an attorney and a bail bond. That is where both finances and freedom enter the picture. Attorneys are expensive and legal fees can add up in a hurry.
And you need to be free. If you are sitting in jail, you can’t work. You can’t be with your family. Freedom. Bail bonds are not cheap either. Finances again. A good concealed carry insurance policy will take care of those things almost immediately. You need concealed carry insurance for your protection and your family’s protection.
What to Look for in a Concealed Carry Policy?
Just like any other insurance coverage, concealed carry insurance varies from company to company and from state to state. Each company offers tiered coverage from the most basic plan to multiple levels of additional coverage with all sorts of add-ons and extras. Deciding what is right for you is a function of your needs and your situation. That being said, there are some core elements of a concealed carry policy that everyone should consider.
The way insurance companies handle attorney’s fees should be the number one consideration when you choose your concealed carry insurance plan. There are two parts to the legal aspect of a self-defense shooting. There will be a criminal investigation and, more than likely, a civil lawsuit.
Lawyers are not cheap and if you find yourself involved in a criminal trial or a civil trial (or both in the worst-case scenario), the fees will mount quickly. These fees can easily reach into the six-figure range. More than one family’s financial ruin came from trying to mount a decent legal defense.
When looking at concealed carry insurance, making sure the policy covers retainers, criminal defense, civil defense and damages. We also suggest that you look for a policy that pays upfront. Waiting on an insurance company to reimburse you for thousands of dollars in expenses is not a fun game.
When looking at the way the concealed carry insurance policy pays for your attorney and legal fees, you should also look at the caps that some insurance companies place on the coverage. Unfortunately, the higher the caps on the coverage, typically, the more cost involved in purchasing the policy.
There is no good way to estimate what a solid legal defense may cost. The best advice is to purchase the highest level of coverage you can reasonably afford and hope you never have to use it.
Jail is not a great place. When you are in jail, you have little or no access to friends and family. You can’t go to your job, and confinement in jail reflects poorly on your situation. A concealed carry insurance policy that pays for a bail bond relieves you of the problems associated with confinement in jail. Make sure the policy you select pays upfront for a bail bond if needed.
Knowledge and Training
Concealed carry insurance companies deal with the after-effects of self-defense shootings as a matter of course. One of the things that a good concealed carry insurance policy will provide is a body of knowledge and training for you that can make the difference in how things play out if you do become involved in such a situation.
Check for the types and quality of the materials and information that the concealed carry insurance company provides to its policyholders as a matter of routine. Some even offer classes or online video training in not just how to react after a self-defense shooting, but also training in how to avoid such a situation.
The best companies will offer 24-hour real-time support from attorneys and other legal and self -defense experts. You want to get as much for your money as you can find, and you want to take advantage of those resources regularly.
Other Things to Consider
Most concealed carry insurance companies offer a much broader range of services and features. Some of the more popular are:
- Spouse and family coverage at a discounted rate
- Work loss coverage
- Property damage coverage
- Negligent discharge coverage
- Coverage across state lines
A Word About Crossing State Lines
Unfortunately, there is no nationwide consistency in concealed carry laws. The variances from one state to another can be extreme. If you plan to travel and cross state lines with your concealed carry gun, you need to educate yourself carefully on what your concealed carry policy covers and the laws in each state that you plan to visit.
The Best Concealed Carry Insurance Options
Currently, you have six options when choosing a concealed carry insurance company from which to purchase your policy. These six are:
- United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA)
- U.S. Law Shield
- Second Call Defense
- Firearms Legal Protection
- CCW Safe
- Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
We’ll highlight some of the pro’s and con’s of these vendors below. However, you must find the right mix of coverage, cost and services for yourself and your family.
One of the largest and oldest of the concealed carry insurance providers in the United States, USCCA, has over 285,00 paying members. USCCA has a lot of experience and offers a wide range of extra options, along with its basic policy. They sell their coverage in three tiers to give you the levels of protection you want.
USCCA pays upfront for a bail bond and criminal defense expenses. However, the cost of your bail bond is considered part of your criminal defense and that amount reduces your criminal defense cap. USCCA is not available to residents of New York or Washington state.
USCCA offers a wide variety of educational and training opportunities and material, including a monthly magazine, an app for your smartphone, and multiple online resources including training drills, live broadcasts, and videos.
Originally U.S. Law Shield was a Texas-based company known as Texas Law Shield. They have since gone nationwide with their coverage. The company was founded by several Texas lawyers who recognized the problems being faced by responsible concealed carry gun owners involved in self-defense shooting in Texas.
There are some things to consider about U.S. Law Shield. First, you must use an attorney in their network. Using an unknown network attorney may be a problem for you if you already have your own attorney. When it comes to defending yourself in court in a criminal proceeding, the choice of your attorney can be the most important decision you make.
On the plus side, there are no caps on either your legal fees for both criminal and civil proceedings. The monthly rate on one of these policies is an incredible value. If you want nationwide coverage, there is an additional charge, and if you live in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New York, or Rhode Island, you are out of luck as U.S. Law Shield does not do business in those states.
Bail bond coverage is also an additional charge and the list of extra services is a bit limited as well. If you are looking for a lot of extra perks with your concealed carry insurance policy, U.S. Law Shield may come up a bit short.
I’m not sure who your first call is going to, but Second Call may be the choice for your concealed carry insurance policy. Second Call offers probably the cheapest entry-level coverage of any of the concealed carry insurance companies. It is entry-level covering only criminal defense. You must purchase any other coverage separately and the caps are very low.
There are other tiers of coverage that increase the caps, offer bundled service and coverage. The list services are in the middle of the range of the companies at which we looked. As with almost anything else, the more you are willing to pay, the more you get.
Second Call is worth a look in our opinion if you can’t afford anything else. If you can manage one of their upper tier plans, the value and protection get better and puts them more into the game. If you don’t have any coverage and you can manage the minimal expense of Second Call’s basic coverage, this company should be a consideration.
Firearms Legal Protection is one of those often-overlooked companies. As one of the smaller companies in the marketplace, Firearms Legal Protection offers an impressive list of features and options. Like most of the other companies, Firearms Legal Protection is a tiered plan structure.
The coverage offered by Firearms Legal Protection is limited to 30 states, so you need to make sure your state is on their list. The basic coverage plans only cover you in your home state, so if you travel, you must spend a bit more for that extended coverage.
One unique option that is offered by Firearms Legal Protection is coverage against so-called “Red Flag” accusations. Other extras offered include:
- Uncapped legal fees for criminal and civil defense
- Lost wages reimbursement
- A mobile app
- Minor children coverage
If you live in a state where Firearms Legal Protection is doing business, they are certainly worth a look as you make the decision about which policy is best for you and your situation.
Upfront, CCW Safe has no capes on criminal or civil legal defense. They also offer $100,000 in bail bond protection as part of their basic policy. If those are the priority points on your shopping list, then CCW Safe must be on your list of companies to consider. CCW Safe also lets you choose your attorney with the understanding that CCW Safe gets to vet and approve your choice.
CCW Safe offers a special category of protection for retired/active military or law enforcement who have a concealed carry permit. If you can qualify, the list of options and coverages for this plan is probably one of the best on the market.
CCW Safe does offer tiered plans for concealed carry permit holders so you can choose different levels of protection, options and perks. One option is for home defense coverage. If you don’t carry concealed but keep firearms in your home for self-defense, this is an attractive option.
If you fall under HB 218, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, you can also buy special coverage from CCW Safe. It offers the same unlimited caps on a variety of services that you may encounter if you become involved in a self-defense situation off-duty.
Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (ACLDN) boasts one of the most impressive lists of network attorneys of any of the concealed carry insurance providers on this list. That brings a lot of legal weight to your defense should you need it.
You should understand that ACLDN is not an insurance policy. It is a prepaid legal service. The coverages it offers are not as extensive as the other entries on this list. For instance, there are no provisions for civil damages or loss of wages. The caps on what is does pay are relatively low, but you can submit expenses over the cap to a review board for consideration.
There are no tiers or add-on options. You sign up and pay your fees and you get what everyone else gets. There are some training and education offerings through the ACLDN and a monthly magazine. ACLDN may not be the right choice for everyone, but it is still worth a look.
If you carry concealed regularly, there are two things you always need to have in your wallet or purse – one is your concealed carry permit, and the other is your concealed carry insurance card. If you are carrying concealed without some financial and legal protection to back you up, you are exposing yourself and your family to the potential for financial and personal devastation.
Do the smart thing. Look at the companies that offer concealed carry insurance policies and make the investment in your protection. The money you spend on your concealed carry insurance policy is as important as what you spend on your firearm and training.Finally, make sure that you are well informed on everything concealed carry. Insurance is one very important piece of the puzzle, but anyone who will conceal carry should be well versed in all of the things to consider before starting.