If you’re not the worrying type, you may not care that much about insurance for legal costs if you use your firearm in self defense. On the other hand, if you’re not the worrying type at all, why carry a self defense firearm? The facts have been proven in just about every state that has legal concealed and/or open carry. If you use your firearm in self defense, whether you actually shoot someone or not, and you’re not inside your home at the time, you’re almost assuredly going to get arrested, go before a grand jury, or in some way incur legal fees.
I am the “concerned” type, and started searching for insurance for both criminal charges that might arise from self defense firearm use, but also civil suit legal coverage when the person I shoot or their relatives decide to try and get something that couldn’t be taken by force the first try. Here are the steps in order that I took, and they definitely weren’t necessarily the right ones and definitely not in the right order.
- I bought the NRA self defense firearms coverage.
- I bought the USCCA Platinum coverage.
- I bought the CHL Protection Plan
- I joined the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
All told, I spent more than $800 my first year with a concealed carry permit, simply because I didn’t do my research up front and kept finding something I thought was better. Let me run them down in overview for you:
NRA Coverage (straight from their site):
Our Self-Defense Insurance protects National Rifle Association members who need extra protection not found in most homeowners’ policies.
The coverage is a rider to the Excess Personal Liability coverage, and provides civil defense and liability and criminal defense reimbursement if you are involved in an act of self-defense.
- Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.
- Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.
- Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.
Liability Limit Options:
- $100,000 Combined Single Limit with $50,000 criminal defense reimbursement sub-limit Cost $165/year
- $250,000 Combined Single Limit with $50,000 criminal defense reimbursement sub-limit Cost $254/year
- The insurance policy will pay for the reasonable and necessary costs and expenses incurred because of bodily injury or property damage resulting in a civil suit arising out of an act of self defense while using a firearm that is legally possessed. The amount paid is limited by the member level limits.
- The insurance policy will provide criminal defense reimbursement for the reasonable and necessary costs and expenses incurred in connection with the investigation and/or defense of any criminal charge or criminal proceeding caused by the use of a firearm that is legally possessed after you’ve been acquitted of criminal charges or the charges have been dismissed. The amount paid is limited by the member level limits. Insurance companies cannot and do not sell “firstdollar” criminal defense coverage. This is why we’ve created the USCCA Legal Defense Foundation, Inc. The foundation can help you bridge this gap. (See below for more informationon exactly how the foundation works.)
- **Note this is a criminal defense cost reimbursement also. Here are the membership levels and coverage costs:
**IMPORTANT NOTE: CHLPP has been purchased by Patriot Legal Protection. Coverage changes and enhancements have been instituted, so please go to the new website and read the FAQ page to learn about the coverage. There is a toll free phone number at the top of the page and they’ll be happy to answer your questions. This article was written by Jim Kimmons and you can call me at 575-737-8554, however you’ll get more up-to-date information calling them directly.
A CHLPP member is covered for any exposure of the member’s weapon in any use of force in a self-defense incident in any state that recognizes a CHLPP member’s Concealed Handgun license or Concealed Carry permit issued by any state licensing agency. For example, if you have a CHL issued by any state, you are covered if you were to be involved in an self-defense incident in any state that recognizes that state issued CHL. CHLPP offers a “Joint” plan which provides a substantial discount for two or more persons who join CHLPP together.
CHLPP will retain an experienced qualified local criminal defense attorney where you were arrested. The attorney CHLPP retains will pursue the member’s case until there is a dismissal, no-bill by a Grand Jury (in those states which have a Grand Jury system), and the return of all your seized firearm(s) and related property. With CHLPP there are NO deductibles, co-pays, or limits. CHLPP members pay nothing out of their own pockets.
CHLPP does not provide coverage for related civil lawsuit legal expenses. The liability coverage portion of your auto/homeowners policy may cover these expenses. Most states now have a “Castle Doctrine” which limits civil suits by the attacker in a self-defense situation.
**Note that the one thing you pretty much know is going to happen, the criminal investigation, probable arrest and grand jury, is covered from the first dollar. It is correct as stated by other policies that you can’t get “first dollar” coverage for criminal attorney fees. However, this is a membership organization that purchases a blanket policy for all members, thus it isn’t individual coverage. So, you make sure your local 2nd Amendment friendly attorney’s contact info is in your wallet, call the number on your membership card and you’re covered for the criminal.
Since civil isn’t covered, you’re still going to have to look at that, but the next company/organization will deal with it for you. Cost of this coverage is the membership fee of only $129/year!
Key points in their program include:
• A fee deposit paid by the Network to the member’s attorney if the member has been involved in a self-defense incident. The deposit gets the legal defense immediately underway, with representation during questioning, and arranging for an independent investigation of the incident. This amount that’s immediately sent to your attorney is $10,000 for a felony arrest or $5000 for a misdemeanor arrest. Pretty good and fast response that gets your attorney moving!
• Network members are eligible for additional grants of financial assistance from the Network’s Legal Defense Fund if they face unmeritorious prosecution or civil action after a self-defense incident occurring during their period of membership.
• Their Board of Advisors and expert witnesses are second to none. Internationally-known trainers, experts and shooting industry professionals, attorneys and recognized leaders are all available to you through the Network.
• Creating a unique, nationwide network of attorneys and legal experts which the member can draw upon after acting in self defense. No other organization offers this benefit!
Membership gets you the benefits, and it’s only $85/year!
So, after a lot of money down the drain, I’m now spending $214 per year ($129 + $85) and getting first dollar and immediate assistance from these last two organizations for both criminal and civil issues involved with self defense use of my legal firearm. I’m letting the NRA and USCCA policies expire.
I have spoken on the phone with principals in both organizations, as there is overlap in coverage. Both knew about the other and assured me that there would be no bickering about who does what; that their sole goal is to help me get past an incident with the least disruption to my lifestyle and pocketbook as possible.