Recent events around the country have placed renewed focus on defending yourself, your family and your property. We’ve seen seemingly random acts spark widespread violent behavior that is painful to watch and difficult to comprehend. If you are a gun owner and carry concealed you’ve probably thought about what might happen if that kind of violence found you.
You may have thought about purchasing CCW insurance. You’ve decided that carrying a firearm or other weapon is a prudent way to defend yourself, your family or your property. But have you ever considered what would happen if you actually had to use your firearm in a defensive situation? And what happens in the aftermath of that awful situation?
You may have and you should. Even if you are 100% in the right you should expect that your life will be changed and that your every thought and action leading up to the event will be called into question. That is to be expected, a life or death defensive act is not to be taken lightly and frankly such a thing should be scrutinized closely.
What’s the difference between a lawyer and a shark?
However, we live in a culture of supercharged politics, ideological motives and pre-conceived notions of right and fairness. Many will assume a person who defends forcefully themselves is automatically in the wrong and seek to punish them for exercising their right to self-defense. And that is only the beginning.
We live in a litigious society as well. There are armies of lawyers who make very good livings litigating the most minute of alleged civil wrongs. Imagine the fervor that the same lawyers will apply to matters of life and death. Criminal legal jeopardy would be your first hurdle to clear, civil lawsuits could certainly be close behind.
I’ve heard many advocates of concealed carry and armed self-defense say, “It is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six”. I couldn’t agree more. You need to be aware that an act that happens in just a few seconds may take far longer than that resolve legally. The twelve “peers” judging you may not see things your way.
This is what CCW insurance is all about. It is a vehicle to protect your rights and your family’s when something unthinkable happens.
We safeguard so many aspects of our lives with various types of insurance. It’s purchased for our homes, cars and businesses. We have it for our health. Your bank account is insured by the government.
You’re covered when you fly, you may even purchase it for products that you buy when their warranty is less than stellar. These products all have one thing in common, they are about managing risk. CCW insurance does that as well.
So What Does CCW Insurance Cover?
The main focus of CCW insurance plans is financial and legal (which go hand in hand). Attorneys cost money, good attorneys cost a great deal of money.
Depending on the plan, you may get coverage for attorney’s retainers, criminal and civil defense fees and civil damages. Some plans let you choose your own attorney to represent you, others may assign one to your case.
Plans may also cover Bail Bonds if you are detained and arrested. The dollar amount covered varies widely between different plans. For sure, more is better. You do not want to be incarcerated while struggling with the aftermath of an incident and it cannot be predicted what bail requirements might be.
As more and more states have passed so called “Red Flag” laws, some providers have added coverage to address the legal and financial burdens associated with those proceedings. You should check with the individual providers as these laws are being updated all the time. Currently USCCA and Firearms Legal Protection state they have this coverage.
CCW coverage providers in many cases offer financial coverage for a number of other important expenses. These items may include:
- Expert Witnesses
- Training sessions and materials
- 24/7 Hotlines for Assistance
- Coverage for Spouses or family members
- Coverage for confiscated weapons
- Compensation for lost wages while in court
- Personal hardships
- Psychological support services
Who Is Providing Coverage?
There are currently a half dozen companies and organizations in the primary business of providing CCW insurance or coverage plans. The current companies in the market are:
- USCCA, United States Concealed Carry Association
- CCW Safe
- Second Call Defense
- Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
- U.S Law Shield
- Firearms Legal Protection
Noticeably absent from the list if you follow the NRA, is the NRA Carry Guard Program. The NRA’s program shut down last year due to legal and insurance underwriter issues. Although a program by the same name still exists, it offers only training options at this time.
This is a relatively new but growing market. The oldest company on the list, USCCA has been in business seventeen years. The youngest, Firearms Legal Protection, for only five.
I’m neither an attorney or an insurance agent but I do recommend doing your due diligence on the financial health of any of these companies you consider for coverage. All of them, with the exception of Second Call Defense, have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time this article was written.
Insurance vs. Shared Risk
Aside from the amounts of coverage and the monthly or yearly subscriptions, the business models vary between companies as well. Some are offered as insurance while others, like The Armed Citizens Network, is a private funding mechanism for member’s defense.
Members pay into a fund and money from that fund is then allocated to a member’s defense when required. Benefits are not fixed. Benefits would necessarily be limited to the amount of money in the shared pool. It is also up to the judgement of Armed Citizen’s LDN as to whether your incident was ” a legitimate act of self defense”. To my mind benefits must be clearly stated and guaranteed, and not subject to someone’s personal judgement at the time.
Second Call and USCCA have stated limits on benefits which may or may not be adequate depending on any particular incident. CCW Safe, US Law Shield and Firearms Legal Protection have no stated limits on civil and criminal legal fees. Unlimited sounds better but the skeptic in me has trouble with the concept of an “unlimited” benefit. Read the fine print.
Premiums start from as little as $9.95 per month and range up to as much as $41.59 per month. So, what do you get for your money? See the charts below for a comparison of the plans major features.
It is a good idea to take some time and determine what features and benefits are most important to you and at what cost. AMMDOG Reviews is an affiliate of USCCA and I believe they offer very good product. They have also been at this longer than any of the other organizations listed here.
Insurance and risk management have their place. Having insurance can bring peace of mind that you are protected even if the worst circumstances arise. However, training and situational awareness are your best tools to avoid finding yourself in a bad situation to begin with. The best insurance is the kind you never have to use.