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The Importance of Gun Liability Insurance



Many in the U.S. die from unintentional firearm injuries every year, but does this mean you should be covered with gun liability insurance?  Although gun ownership is a right in America to help you protect your loved ones, it still comes with a serious degree of risk and responsibility.  In fact, Americans are four times more likely to die from a gun accidentally going off than in any other high-income country.  

Unintended shootings are mostly preventable.  Many unintentional shootings usually involve other factors like alcohol.  Teenagers have the highest risk when it comes to unintentional gun deaths as parents of teenagers are actually more likely than those with younger children to store guns unlocked, loaded, or both.  More than 80% of teen deaths by suicide happen using a firearm belonging to a family member. 

Nonetheless, at least 377 unintentional shootings in 2021 were caused by children, leading to 154 deaths and 242 injuries.  At the moment, more than 4.6 million children are living in homes that have at least one unloaded and unlocked gun.  This makes it easy to understand how almost 80% of school shootings are conducted by children who are able to obtain household firearms without much difficulty.  

Yet does insurance make guns safer?  Insurance itself doesn’t make guns any safer, but it does encourage behavior that can lead to fewer deaths.  Most unintentional shootings with a firearm that have caused injuries or deaths could have been prevented if owners stored their guns correctly.  Insurance companies have incentives as a result of good gun practices, such as offering lower premiums, which could alone encourage more owners to adjust their gun safety.   

Leaving a gun in a more accessible place compared to storing it in a proper gun safe can triple the risk of death by suicide as it does not help put a barrier between thought and action.  Installing a child-proof safety trigger lock and a loaded chamber indicator could prevent another 31% of accidental deaths.  Attending gun safety courses can additionally help owners understand how to properly store their firearms.  

Standard homeowners and renters insurance can give you some coverage over firearms, but there are some situations in which insurance does not cover the cost of damages.  Homeowners or renters insurance usually doesn’t cover crimes committed using an unreported stolen firearm, intentional harm like property damage caused by firing a gun with purpose, and costs associated with self-defense use.

On the other hand, theft or loss of firearms is covered as more than $135 million worth of firearms were stolen in 2020.  Accidental shootings that involve a victim who is not a member of the policyholder’s household are usually covered as well as liability.   

Additional coverage options for firearms are available for you to add to your policies.  A personal property protection policy can work well if you have a valuable collection of guns as it extends the coverage limit for any loss or theft of your firearms.  Umbrella liability extends coverage limits for all liability, even firearms.  

If you feel that the homeowners or renters policies do not fully cover your individual situation, you can acquire a separate gun insurance policy.  A gun liability insurance policy covers damages caused by gun negligence or accidental shootings.  Some policies can even cover self-defense actions considered to be “reasonable force.” Another choice is to get self-defense insurance.  

31% of gun owners have used a firearm for self-defense, and no shots were fired in 82% of those incidents.  Self-defense insurance typically includes coverage for civil and criminal defense expenses as well as civil damages.  Sometimes policies will cover firearm replacements, psychological support, bail assistance, and any amount of income lost from a required presence on a court day.  

So do you need gun insurance?  It is important to consider getting gun insurance coverage and understand all of your gun insurance options if you own firearms of any amount.  Even if gun liability insurance may not be required where you live, legislation could change in the near future, so it’s best to be prepared and make the best decision that will help you properly protect you and your family.  

Allan Strauss has a proven track record of editing and formatting content for newspapers, magazines or any other publishing endeavor. His experience includes everything from layout design to public speaking on stages around the world.