Self Defense Insurance?
For those that have been with me from the start of TacCat, you know that I’m still objectively a novice when it comes to the firearms world and one of the reasons I started TacCat was to produce the information I wish I had known when getting into the hobby and the habit of carrying a gun daily. In this article I get to go over something that I’ve finally decided to dedicate some time to, self defense insurance.
This is a topic that gets brought up frequently, it’s a topic that not many people cover extensively, and it’s a service that I don’t feel people spend nearly enough time on researching. At the end of the article, I will be sharing my top picks for self defense or carry insurance, but I won’t be detailing any that should be ignored; why? I want to encourage you to do some searching on your own.
So, the main questions. What is self defense insurance? Why might you need or want self defense insurance? And, what should you look for with self defense insurance?
What is self defense insurance?
Well, this is a rather simple answer. The best way to describe self defense, or carry insurance, is by saying it’s essentially having a lawyer on retainer for a fraction of the cost. From what I’ve seen, base plans for the individual for carry insurance run $10-20/month or $100-200/annually. Considering a lawyer’s retainer fee alone can cost up to or higher than $5,000, the cost for self-defense insurance is really a rain drop in an ocean.
Why might you want to invest in self defense insurance?
Contrary to what people say on the internet, you can’t plea the 2nd Amendment to get out of criminal charges for injuring/killing another individual; even if it was in self defense. Beyond that, as well as you may know your state’s laws, you do not know or fully understand how all the bylaws, statutes, and case law can affect your case. And unless you’re an attorney, you won’t understand how they can affect you.
The statutes, bylaws, and the case law are all written in legalese or lawyer speak. These things can say one thing, but actually mean something entirely different; basically the equivalent of your girlfriend telling you to have fun with the boys. Remember, we have a legal system, not a justice system. Even something clear cut can be turned muddy real quick.
What To Look For
Instead of droning on and on about extras that different insurers can offer, I want to keep this article as concise as I can as to help you on your quest to find the plan for you.
Are there things that should immediately disqualify an insurer? Yes and here’s a list.
- They don’t cover attorney fees up front.
- They don’t offer multi-state coverage.
- They don’t cover all “legal” weapons.
- Appeals aren’t covered.
- They don’t support you if a civil suit is drawn against you.
- Time restrictions put on your case.
- Lack of attorneys that you can vet yourself.
- No 24/7 hotline to call in an emergency.
- Attorney Response Times (Are you going to wait a week to hear about? Or can you call and get connected immediately?)
Are there valuable benefits offered by insurers that should be taken into consideration? Yes…and yes, here’s another list.
- Counseling sessions covered following a self-defense incident. (Especially if your medical insurance doesn’t cover therapy)
- Cost free coverage for minors in your home.
- Bail Bond fees covered (if applicable in your state).
- 2nd Amendment protections (such as defending you against Red Flag Laws).
- The ability to ask lawyers legal questions.
- Self-defense, first-aid, and legal seminars.
- Expert witness coverage.
- Private Investigators.
- Compensation for days missed from work.
Are there benefits used to lure you in by insurers that should not be used to determine the usefulness? Yup, with every market you’ll see these.
- Discounts at gun shops, for gunsmithing, etc.
- Weapon retrieval/replacement.
- Crime scene clean up.
- Instructor Networks.
- Discounts on training.
This post isn’t supposed to be a “you need this plan, or this plan,” type of thing. It’s more meant to be a guide for you to reflect on when shopping for self-defense insurance. There are a lot of options are there, there’s a lot of snake oil, and there’s a lot of insurers that are just there to collect your money and to not pay up.
When I was shopping around, the list above is the checklist I was using when going from insurer to insurer, along paying attention to what they may or may not have been throwing up on social media. For instance, an insurer making a post that suggests shotguns don’t require more training to run efficiently compared to a rifle or a handgun? It turned me off of them real quick.
For me, I was able to narrow my choices down to two different companies. U.S. Law & Shield and Self Defense Fund. This isn’t to say that there aren’t other decent options out there, but when it came to coverage, and what was offered as a whole, these were the two that really caught my eye.