Many of us want to have some kind of insurance for our firearms to protect against theft and damage. This is a compact overview of the options.
The three ways to insure your gun collection are: (1) under your homeowner’s insurance, (2) under a collectibles insurance policy, or (3) under a specialized firearms program such as NRA Armscare. Here are the pros and cons of each.
1. Insuring guns under your homeowner’s policy
Convenience. You already have a policy with one insurance company. Why add another? Your homeowner’s policy probably already protects between $1,000-$2,000 worth of firearms loss by default within your personal property limit.
No-Cost Appraisal. Some companies will send a representative to your home to determine the market value of your collection for you.
Inflexibility and potentially higher cost. A typical homeowner’s policy can only be expanded in certain increments (e.g. $5,000) at flat rates, and those prices are still higher than what you’ll get with a specialized firearms policy. In addition, some insurance companies require you to document your guns’ serial numbers, which is a deal breaker for some people.
No accidental damage coverage. Homeowner’s policies rarely cover accidental damage and are usually limited to burglary/theft and damage or loss due to a house fire or flooding.
Where to look:
Anecdotally, gun owners seem to have the best results with USAA and Farm Bureau Insurance. Crosby & Crosby also offers enhanced homeowner’s insurance policies.
2. Collectibles insurance
Broader coverage. An expanded homeowner’s policy likely doesn’t cover accidental breakage, loss in the mail, or other risks outside of flood, fire, and theft occurring at your home.
Additionally, some collectibles programs are broad enough to cover not only your guns, but also the rest of your arsenal: ammunition, gun safes, accessories, knives, etc.
Flexibility and potentially lower cost. Insuring your guns under a separate policy allows you to choose one that exactly matches your actual gun values, so you’re not paying a flat rate. This logically shakes out to a lower premium much of the time. You also won’t need to provide serial numbers for any individual item under $20,000. Accordingly, appraisal is usually also not necessary. You can use the Blue Book of Gun Values to find out your replacement cost, and the company will use that to determine your premium.
Fine print. Watch out for what the company defines as ‘collectible’ to make sure recent models are covered. Some collectibles plans may offer wonderful rates – that is, as long as you’re only insuring black powder weapons.
Where to look:
CollectInsure (firearms, accessories, gun safes, ammo, edged weapons)
MiniCo (rare and antique firearms and equipment)
3. Specialized firearms insurance program
Free for NRA members. As of this writing, $2,500 in NRA Armscare is still a no-cost benefit offered to NRA members. You can add more coverage for around the same price as a collectibles policy.
Options for particular requirements. Some other programs cater to hunters/sportsmen, gun dealers, or collectors of historic firearms. For really high-value or estate collections, you can’t do much better than Core-Vens, which caters to that group.
Usually doesn’t include accessories or other weapons. Since these policies are for ‘firearms owners’ rather than ‘collectors,’ they generally don’t cover ammo, holsters, safes, or anything else that might get damaged or lost alongside your guns.
Where to look:
NRA Armscare (firearms and accessories that are attached to the firearm)
Sportsman’s Insurance Agency (hunters/sportsmen)
Eastern Insurance (historic firearms)
Core-Vens (coverage amounts start at $100,000)