Concealed Carry Insurance
So, you took the plunge and got your concealed carry license. Good for you. The question now: Have you considered concealed carry insurance?

Roughly six percent of Americans now have carry licenses. They’ve chosen to take proactive steps to keep their families safe. Prudent people will do two things to further their personal and family safety:

1.  They seek knowledge and training on how to avoid and deescalate a conflict, and if necessary how to effectively use their gun to defend themselves or their family.

2.  They give serious thought to buying some “concealed carry insurance” – particularly in this time of politics entering decisions on whether or not to prosecute good guys who ventilate bad guys.  If you discharge your firearm in self-defense, legal costs can quickly overwhelm most people.  Do you want to do that do yourself and your family?

First off, these concealed carry “insurance” policies are not really insurance, per se.  Insurance covers accidents and Acts of God.  Your homeowner’s policy doesn’t typically cover intentional acts against another person.  Punching Mongo the Mauler’s ticket with your handy dandy S&W .44 Magnum is very much a deliberate and intentional act.  Yes, you intentionally shot him.  State Farm will not cover your criminal defense.  What happens if Mongo’s sweet little girl next-of-kin sues you for cutting short her father’s life with your Dirty Harry commemorative revolver?  State Farm won’t pay to defend that either.

In contrast to homeowners insurance, concealed carry “insurance” or “legal defense” policies reimburse you for legal expenses.   They typically pay following acquittal with most companies.  Some make a big deal about putting you up in a hotel for a day or two or other ancillary benefits.  In the end though, they reimburse you for legal expenses up to the policy limit.  Lawyers charge big bucks and those bills can add up quickly.  Doubt me?  Just ask George Zimmerman.

How it works

Most of the CCW “insurance” options out there will pay a retainer up front to your attorney.  The amount varies by policy, typically $5,000 – $20,000.  The companies then pay the balance after your acquittal, reimbursing you for your costs over that amount up to the policy limit.  Limits vary wildly, as do policy fees.  Most companies will also cover your legal defense in subsequent civil suits, within the limits of the policy, of course.

How much coverage?

What do you need in the way of coverage?  It depends™.  Do you patronize the Dewdrop Inn looking for recreational pharmaceuticals and companionship at late hours?  Do you drink while carrying?  Have a hot temper?  Do you do stupid things, in stupid places with stupid or not-so-stupid people?  While driving, are you practiced in the art of the single-digit salute?  If you do one or more of the above, look for a policy with larger coverage.  Or better yet, get policies from multiple companies.

For most of us who carry prudently and live responsibly and soberly, we probably won’t need a whole lot of coverage.  In fact, if you act to the standard by which you will be judged (and if you’ve been a legal lecture, you’ve heard that before) then most of the time modest coverage is more than enough.

In fact, if it’s a righteous shoot, a $5,000 or $10,000 retainer will usually get you back home to your family within a day or two at most.  The same goes for a righteous stabbing.  They usually cover self-defense with any tool.

It’s those George Zimmerman-style cases that make everyone’s sphincters tighten up.   Righteous shoots sometimes do get prosecuted.  After all, prosecutors like winning re-election.  When mobs of their constituents threaten to burn their community down in “peaceful protests”, sometimes these prosecutors listen.

Attorney Referrals

Want another reason to sign up for some CCW insurance?  What happens when you are on vacation or business halfway across country.  Some wiseacre tries to perform thoracic surgery on you with his Buck knife, but you rapidly and promiscuously perforate him instead.  What then?

Reputable CCW insurance companies will have a referral list of skilled defense attorneys.  Even in Montgomery, Alabama where I personally almost smoked a would-be armed robber on my honeymoon.  (Another link, with videos)  I cleared my shirt and put my hand on Mr. Glock.  I non-verbally explained what was going to happen next if he continued his course of action.  Thankfully, he found Jesus and chose wisely to go back from where he came.

Concealed Carry Insurance

Educational Materials

Another bonus of membership in the more reputable companies are the educational materials they provide.  It’s in their best interest to make you a more informed customer – especially for folks who haven’t gotten any formal training in legal considerations to using deadly force.

Videos and written materials may be sent to you, depending on the company, once you’ve enrolled in coverage.  More materials will likely be available online.

Armed Citizens Defense Network, for instance, sends their customers a series of DVDs and a host of other educational materials.  Some of the DVDs are better than others, but a couple by Massad Ayoob are top shelf.  I paid $800 to watch them twenty years ago as part of my Lethal Force Institute training, and you’re getting copies to keep and re-watch for a $135 annual membership.  That’s pretty sweet.

My advice is to steer clear of any legal defense insurance company that doesn’t offer educational materials and an attorney referral list.

My favorites

I have looked into six or eight of these companies and two stand out to me.

I’m a member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (ACLDN).  For $135/year, they offer a $10,000 automatic retainer to an attorney of my choice if I’m charged.   If I’m outside of my local area in Central Illinois, they can refer an attorney to me.  Additional household members can be added for $60 each.  They offer steep discounts for multi-year signups.

ACLDN has a panel of experts who will look at your case.  Their experts include Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Dennis Tueller, Marty Hayes and others.  IF their panel of experts deems your case a righteous use of force, they will write additional checks for attorneys fees and/or expert witnesses before or during a trial.   That’s right:  The ACLDN pays coverage, up to their limits (currently about $400,000!), before the verdict.

They are the only company that does this.  All of the others I’m aware of reimburse you for legal defense costs after a not-guilty verdict and any appeals are exhausted.

If you’re like me, you don’t have $50,000 sitting (rotting away?) in the bank just waiting to keep financing your legal defense team from Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe to continue working on getting you acquitted.

I also like the US Concealed Carry Association.  Like the ACLDN, they have a tremendous bevy of educational materials and have the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  They have attorneys they can refer you to, along with expert witnesses.  Their Concealed Carry Magazine is slick, full-color and very professionally done.  I subscribe to it and I don’t even have their insurance.

USCCA has a host of policies.  They range from $150 – $350 per year.  What’s more, they offer monthly payments, too.

Unlike ACLDN, the USCCA pays all but the retainer following an acquittal.  That will be months or even years after the incident.

Fair warning:  You’ll notice right out of the gate at their website, the USCCA hits you with a full-court press.  Auto-play videos and more.  USCCA will blizzard your e-mail account with tons of marketing stuff.  They relentlessly send you “offers” and “opportunities”.  That problem is easily solved with a throwaway email address, but most people don’t know about the aggressive marketing until it’s too late.

Others

I have less of a working knowledge of some of the other companies.  They vary in coverage and cost.  Some are multi-level marketing (sort of like Amway), others are more like traditional insurance in the sense they are offered by insurance companies.  In any event, investigate as you will, but if you’re like me, you’ll probably find ACLDN or USCCA as among the best products out there.

54 Responses to Concealed Carry Insurance

    • I agree, and I thought so to begin with as well. CC insurance does cost money and it can be argued to be a good idea, so I read on.

    • It is nice to see an explanation of these services with some comparison and contrasting of different vendor’s offerings. This did not strike me as sponsored content, although a discussion of more than two vendors is pretty much a requirement for an article like this. Other suppliers aren’t even mentioned, a pretty glaring miss.

      I used to have a contract with USSCA. The author is correct, their education materials, especially their magazine, are top notch. Their marketing is a bit intense, but as noted by CueBaller, an unsubscribe staunched the flow.

      More posts on this topic — vendors and their offerings, people’s experiences, etc., would be of great interest.

  1. “What happens if Mongo’s sweet little girl next-of-kin sues you for cutting short her father’s life with your Dirty Harry commemorative revolver? State Farm won’t pay to defend that either.”

    Well now, just hold on. No plaintiffs attorney worth his/her salt would only sue for an intentional act- they will also sue for negligence. The typical homeowners or renters liability policy would defend you for negligence, gun or no gun, even if the complaint also alleges intentional conduct. So yes, your existing policy likely provides some coverage. (Check with your agent or broker.)

    Its against public policy to insure for intentional criminal acts, because, well, they’re criminal acts. So I can see some limited value with one of these “armed citizen” programs.

  2. “Insurance covers accidents and Acts of God. Your homeowner’s policy doesn’t typically cover intentional acts against another person.”

    Sort of true- your homeowners liability policy usually covers you for your own negligence. It won’t cover you for a lawsuit arising out of a cold blooded murder. But if you intentionally shoot an intruder thinking that you were in danger of grievous bodily harm, and the guy who you shot claims that he thought he heard a woman screaming and was breaking in to rescue her, the claimed “negligence” would be your supposed “mis-read” of the situation. In that case, I would expect that the homeowners liability policy would cover you for the guy’s lawsuit, just as it would if the guy tripped and fell off of your rickety-ass front porch.

    • Let me add this caveat. In HO, as in most liability policies, the insurer has two distinct duties: the duty to defend and the duty to indemnify. IF the plaintiff’s attorney includes a negligence cause of action, the insurer’s duty to defend will likely be triggered, but the outcome of the trial–specifically, if you are found liable, what the theory was upon which liability was based–will determine whether the insurer has any duty to pay the damages award. If it was found to be a bd shoot, you will likely be on your own, and if punitive damages are allowed, then you are out of luck.

      • Usually the attorneys will avoid this issue by just having the jury decide whether the defendant is liable or not- avoid the issue of which cause of action they are deciding on. I’d call it malpractice if the defense attorney didn’t insist upon this- he has an obligation to make sure his client has insurance coverage for any eventual judgment, if at all possible. Remember BOTH the plaintiff and the defendant want the defendant’s insurance to cover any liability.

    • No, State Farm homeowner’s/liability will not cover you in a firearm self defense case. I have asked several agents and their underwriters.

  3. I’d prefer to hear from someone with real world experience with one of these policies or whatever you call them.
    The sales stuff is sales stuff. Do there companies really have a few hundred thousand behind them if needed for your case?

  4. Today, I received an e-mail with attached video promoting a legal insurance outfit named Second Call Defense. (Your first call is to 9-1-1. Your second call is to your lawyer.) They claim to be endorsed by the NRA and to have a network of qualified self defense lawyers across the country. Beyond the e-mail and video, I know nothing about them. Does anyone else?

    • I get the same emails from them. I talked to their reps at their booth at the NRA annual convention in Houston in 2013, I think it was. They seem legitimate, especially with that NRA affiliation. You just have to look at the program features and figure out what suits your needs best.

      No matter what you do, though, do have some kind of plan, even if you go bare on any policy/program. If you’re arrested, you won’t have your cell phone or wallet. Your spouse might be arrested, too, depending on what happened. So you’ll need some way to secure bail money and you’ll need somebody to represent you to the homicide detectives. You DON’T want to talk to these people at all, let alone by yourself!

      They interrogate homicide suspects all day every day and have decades of experience. This is your (hopefully) first time as a homicide suspect. You definitely don’t want to wing it.

      • The first thing you do is to NOT let them interrogate you for hours. Demand to speak to an attorney, and the questioning stops. The cops won’t like it, they will say that you are not cooperating so you must have something to hide, you don’t really need an attorney, blah blah blah. It is BS–it is an attempt to get you to waive your rights so that they can keep questioning you, trying to get you to tell slightly different versions of the same story so that they can accuse you of lying. DON’T go there. NEVER waive your rights. And take it to heart: Anything you say–repeat that ANYTHING you say, CAN and WILL be used against you in a court of law.

  5. Shoot perp, get family address.

    Structure fire, no survivors, no lawsuit, no problem.

    OK, that might be a bit much.

    Seriously though, does the chick come with the insurance or is she just a prop?

  6. Homeowners policies can cover you for civil liability for self-defense shootings. It’s called the self-defense exception to the intentional acts exclusion. Not every policy has it, so check whether yours does.

    The basics of your defense comes down to paying for legal fees (civil and criminal cases) and paying for any judgment or settlement. Get a homeowners insurance policy with the above exception and tack on additional liability coverage. It’ll only cost you a few bucks for hundreds of thousands of dollars more in coverage.

    For legal representation, most of the programs out there are reimbursement deals, which means you must pay upfront. The best program I’ve found and the one my wife and I are members of is Texas Law Shield. They represent you for any use of a firearm (you don’t actually have to discharge it to qualify) on both the civil and criminal sides, and through any appeals or retrials.

    None of these programs cover negligent discharge or illegal carry. Most programs do not cover government fees, investigator fees, expert witness fees, or bail bonds. (TLS program does have options to cover expert witness fees and bail bond fees, for an additional fee.) TLS offers website resources, email updates on new laws, and conducts about three dozen or so workshops annually around the state with the actual lawyers giving presentations and conducting a Q&A. Hotline is staffed by an actual program lawyer 24/7 and they do have a network of program attorneys in other states.

      • You don’t have to live in Texas. US Law Shield covers you in any state https://www.uslawshield.com . Texas Law Shield is affiliated with US Law Shield. My Texas Law Shield membership covers me across the US.

        For me the membership to TLS is “free”. I pay for my membership, but my local gun range gives me a 50% discount on range fees for being a TLS member. The savings pay for my TLS membership in a few months.

        • My wife and I went with US Law Shield. Looked like the best way to go.

          They defend you criminally and civilly. No cap on the coverage. They defend you if it’s a gun, knife, baton, pepper spray, whatever weapon you use for defense.

          Doesn’t matter what state you reside in.

  7. Thanks for this. Been thinking about it since I got my concealed carry pistol but hadn’t gotten further than that. Something to talk about with Mrs. Consequence over the holidays.

  8. “The companies then pay the balance after your acquittal, reimbursing you for your costs over that amount up to the policy limit.”

    Does this strike anyone else as a potential conflict of interest?

    • So if you are convicted, they don’t pay? I wonder what happens if you plead to a lesser offense in order to avoid the risk of trial? (Its a very real thing- plead to disorderly conduct or something, avoid jail and loss of gun rights.) You would then have to choose between fighting to the death for a limited reimbursement versus making a strategic retreat.

  9. “George Zimmerman-style cases that make everyone’s sphincters tighten up. Righteous shoots sometimes do get prosecuted. After all, prosecutors like winning re-election.”

    Angela Corey lost, badly, proving that karma is an even bigger b!tch than Corey.

  10. The types of “coverage” described is essentially worthless under most reasonable circumstances.
    1) You need an attorney immediately if you shoot anyone. Don’t say a word until you speak to a good criminal defense attorney.

    2) A $10k retainer probably won’t pay for more than 30 hours of work and certainly won’t pay for a trial. Since they force you to pay for the cost of the trial upfront, you are going to need to come up with the cost of the trial ($50K-$1M). If you can’t fund a sufficient defense, the product doesn’t help you.

    3) The “you must win” provision creates an enormous conflict for an accused. Let’s say you are charged with murder and the DA offers you a deal – no jail/negligent homicide. If you lose the coverage for a conviction, you might risk a trial to avoid bankrupting your family. If you go to trial, you go to prison and bankrupt your family,

    • If US Law Shield is available in your area, they provide lawyers for both criminal and civil defence without having to pay anything other than the membership fees.

      It seems like it would be beneficial to have something like US Law Shield along with one of the two others mentioned on the article.

      • I’ve got USLawSheild as well. Its very good and they put on classes and have a youtube channel specific many times to your state that can be watched even without being a member. They also have a forum where you can ask questions and I have never had an issues with e-mailing them or calling them and getting either a quick or immediate response. They even cover law enforcement off duty stuff for those who have agencies that won’t defend you in a off duty shoot (but usually take the credit if its a good shoot). They also have a special instruction section if you are arrested that you can pre fill out with instructions or request to your attorney. They also have different payment options.
        Whoever you go with is cool by me but make sure you have something because it’s a load off afterwards.

  11. The father of a friend of mine is a retired deputy sheriff. He was working security in the parking lot of an event and drew his firearm to control a dangerous motorist. It wasn’t a good situation and the local city cops responded. As this was in New Jersey, he found being enrolled in the USCCA very , very handy even though no shots were fired. He says USCCA is worth every penny.

  12. Yeah I’ve thought about carry insurance. I sold all kinds of insurance in a past life. And even though this IS a commercial it’s a good one. Get as much coverage as humanly possible. I’m wondering if umbrella liability would be good if you plug some lowlife…anyone like RALPH weigh in.

  13. I have had CCW Safe for 2 years now. Provides and covers more than the other IMO. The ONLY cost you will have would be any civil penalties from a civil lawsuit, which the civil lawsuit is also covered in the membership. Base package covered 250K bond. Can up to 1 mil for another $50. The limits of all the others really made it no contest for my choice.

  14. Having insurance may be used against you in court. You see, ladies and gentlemen, the accused was looking for trouble that’s why he had a policy.

    • Sorry, I’m calling baloney on your comment. I’m not looking for trouble. Frankly they are going to use EVERYTHING against you in court. He used hollow points or he used full metal jacket, etc.

      Do you carry auto, medical or homeowners insurance? I approached it from the prospect of being responsible.

      If you injury or kill someone I can almost guarantee you will get sued.

    • Just stop. First, it’s not insurance. Second, having insurance can’t be used against you to prove liability in any of our 50 states. Usually, any reference to insurance is an instant mistrial. There are evidence code sections on this. I’ve seen it happen.

      • This is certainly true for a civil case (California has a provision so stating), but is it also true for a criminal case? I doubt it would come it, it isn’t relevant, and it does not establish an intent to do harm, particularly where there is no reimbursement if the harm was intentionally inflicted.

  15. Thought this might be a descent article until mention was made of USCCA. Then I disagreed. Then he pointed out they send more spam than anybody I’ve ever seen. That’s when I knew he was honest. Can’t remember how I got on their list, but it was incredible how much junk they send/sent.

    • I’m a member and I they don’t send much spam at all. Just join, it’s worth it for the magazine and the card you get with a 24 hour 800 number to call that has your “what to say to the police” script on the other side.

      They’re nowhere near as spammy and annoying as the NRA, or Trump’s campaign for that matter.

  16. At $135 or so, any of this is a small gamble. But if you think anyone is going to pay you anything after you’re convicted of a crime, without a cap on liability, you’re naive.

  17. To TTAG and Mr. Boch: let’s have one of these outfits provide a case study of a successful “claim.” I’d like to see what they paid, to whom, and the total circumstances. With 10 years or more in business and millions of customers, certainly they can come up with one or two examples.

    I’ve been an insurance lawyer for 20 years, and my b.s. Meter is pegged on this. It’s so cheap that there’s little downside, but I’m genuinely curious whether or not they come through as promised. Sure, it sounds great. But there are enough potential loopholes to drive a dump truck through.

    Let’s have it. They provide a case study, and I’ll peer review it.

    While they are at it, let’s have a few examples of “claims” that they have denied. I’d like to know what disqualifies you from these fabulous benefits.

    • It seems to me that negligent homicide is a covered loss as an “accident” within the meaning of any general liability policy for the purposes of civil liability, and it doesn’t matter if it is a gun or a car or any other cause, generally speaking. Intentional homicides, not so much, but if any negligence is alleged, the insurer will have to defend. Whether there will be indemnity is a completely separate question, but if there is enough evidence of negligence, many a carrier will settle a wrongful death case, if it can be done within policy limits, rather than expose their insured to an adverse verdict.

    • You raise a good point. I can found countless people who have been “satisfied” with their coverage, but not a single one that has actually needed to cash the check. Frankly, I’d like to see a few cases from the company – it’s easy to make the one payout and point to it. Hard to show that you are going to be viable when I actually need you.

    • This.

      And it’s why I didn’t jump on the Texas Law Sheild ‘offer’ when I got my CHL. I want some type of proof that it actually works as advertised. The closest I’ve come across is one guy replying to a thread elsewhere about a ‘friend’ of his who was detained by LEO (can’t recall why but don’t believe it was an actual DGU) and this friend called TLS. Said friend was released and didn’t lose his weapon.

      I get that as POTG/CCW/CHL holders we are statistically among the most law abiding citizens out there and therfore will rarely, if ever, need their services. But. There are DGU’s where shots are fired and there has to be at least 1 case where the defendee was enrolled in some type of insurance plan. I’ve yet to see evidence of that. You’d think as a insurance ‘provider’ you’d try to promote that incident as proof of your plan.

    • I share Kevin’s concerns. When I took my LTC class, Texas Law Shield made a presentation. Alot of people signed up without even having access to the policy language (the presenter didn’t have it with him). I looked it up online during a break, but it wasn’t written like other insurance policies.

      Although I’ve done alot of coverage analysis for insureds and insurers, I have no idea what would be covered under that policy. Until that area of insurance is litigated a bit more, there will inevitably be coverage disputes. That fact wouldn’t keep me from purchasing a policy per se, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the insurer’s idea of what’s covered differs from the insured’s.

  18. If any of you have had dealings with ANY insurance company for ANY reason you know what you are getting. I’m prior service and had a good auto insurance company, USAA from Texas.
    Wife gets hit, no one injured, they send check. I call them as they are $1,000 short. They answer was I should get it from the other persons insurance company. My answer is it’s your (USAA) responsibility. They agree, after much discussion.
    If I had cashed their check they were not responsible for getting the $1,000 deductible back to me..
    These sound like little toll gates and they are everywhere for everything.
    Good marketing ploy though.

  19. Why would I want a lawyer referred by a company that is on the hook to pay out *ONLY* if I am acquitted?! That seems like a messed up incentive to me…

  20. Now that a set of deep pockets have been found for the holiest of holy in progressive dystopias, the ambulance chasers; national concealed carry can’t be far off. Everyone will be required to carry “insurance” that Trump and Bloomberg reckon is reasonable , of course…..

  21. Fear driven money maker.

    I’ll sell you unicorn insurance, for just $50 a month I will pay all legal and injury fees in the event of a unicorn attack.

    Now lets say that unicorn doesn’t show his horn for 30 years, at 30 x 12 we have 360 payments, so for $18,000 I will make sure to reimburse you up to $5,000 worth of legal fees incurred, but only if my very specific events are followed.

    Please visit my office at 1234 White Panel Van Lane, Everytown, USA

    • Maybe I can convince Trump to do an Obama move and force everyone to purchase my insurance.
      If I only need to pay out 1% or less of my clients I can make huge bank by basically sitting on my butt and doing cocaine off a hookers……

      Hey, for an extra $10 a month I will also throw in insurance on the “loss or confiscation” of your defensive piece.
      That’s right, for just $120 a year I can reimburse you the $350 you paid for that widow maker in the once in a lifetime chance you should need to use it, hell, I’ll even pay for the bullets used for free, no charge, because I’m such a nice guy…..

  22. I have USCCA.

    As for using a throw-away email address, or people complaining about mass quantities of spam… learn to use the internet/email. Inside just about every email sent by someone that is not a private party, there is an “unsubscribe” link.

    I receive zero emails from USCCA.

  23. I took two SD Law classes at the NRA HQ. Both were put on by Arsenal Attorneys, a firm that specializes in gun law, but does not offer any kind of insurance or retainer agreements for SD. BTW, two of the three attorneys who taught the classes were CC’ers. One was an NRA instructor. Neither of them had any kind of CC insurance.

    In the classes, people asked about these kinds of coverage programs. The attorneys’ advice (and I admit this might have been somewhat self-serving on their part, but it made sense to me) was to get the agreement(s) you are considering signing with various companies offering this coverage and take them to an independent attorney who has experience in SD. Spend a few hundred bucks having them review the policies and tell you what the pitfalls may be and how likely those pitfalls are.

    This will 1) Help you choose the policy right for you, 2) Give you some negotiating points with the coverage company. You might say, “I also want a rider that will cover me for “X” and then negotiate that with them, and 3) You will know exactly where you stand if you have to use the coverage. There will be no surprises. The attorney who spoke about this said he has seen policies that have pitfalls that would not be apparent to the average person reading the contract.

    • This is a great idea, but I think Robert should get the contracts, hire a lawyer and publish the analysis here. TTAG could easily own this topic on the Internet with a comprehensive review of the services offered.

      Follow up posts on actual customer experiences after a defensive gun use would be icing on the cake.

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