What’s the Best Way to Insure a Gun Collection?

best way to insure a gun collection

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

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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)

comments

  1. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Burying your guns in cosmoline or some other protected material is probably the best way to ensure your weapons, against (government) theft, in certain American states.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      if you’ve got class III items insurance is mandatory….

      1. avatar Tec's Dad says:

        Please show me the statute? or is this JYHO?

        1. avatar Lawbob says:

          I think he means mandatory as in “or you’re screwed financially”

      2. avatar TRob ARob says:

        I call BS. There are too many items out in the public and I am CERTAIN that not all of them are insured.

  2. avatar John Boch says:

    Buy a good gunsafe made in America. Plan on spending $4000+ on it.

    Anchor it down.

    Talk to your insurance agent about increasing your general firearms coverage to about $5000. That should cover you against loss of guns outside of the safe.

    Paying for insurance to cover your guns can get expensive in a hurry. Like expensive enough to pay for that nice safe within two or three short years.

    John

  3. avatar Gunner2000 says:

    If you can’t afford to insure your firearms, quit buying the good stuff. It’s pretty basic, people.

  4. avatar Skp5885 says:

    Self insure.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      What does that mean?

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        {Self insure.}

        “What does that mean?”

        Accept the possibility of a loss, and “Make yourself, or whoever you damage, whole again” from your own pocket, of your loss or liability.

        It’s a concept the wealthy use, in specific, I’ve seen it used by wealthy airplane owners, where insurance premiums can be upwards of 10 percent annually of the aircraft’s hull value…

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          I should add, insurance that covers the manufacturer of an airplane is a part of the initial purchase price of the airplane.

          It’s why a basic Cessna 172 costs new around $300,000 USD.

          The single most expensive part of the plane, the engine, is about $45,000 USD…

        2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          EDIT – The avionics in the panel can cost well over $100,000 USD…

      2. avatar RocketScientist says:

        It means have enough money that you don’t need an insurance company to step in and save you in event of a disaster. In the context of collectible/luxury items (ie not things you absolutely need to live your life, like a house or car or health) it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. “Self-insuring” your car would basically mean “have enough money that if your car got stolen you can just buy another one”; self-insuring your health would be “have enough money that you can pay for whatever health-care costs might come up”. The idea is that, in general, its ALMOST ALWAYS cheaper to self-insure. Insurance companies are basically huge corporations that pay a lot of very smart people to figure out very precisely what your statistical risk of whatever you’re insuring against. they figure out what the cost of covering you should be, and price the insurance premiums to cover (cost of event)x(risk of event)+(profit)+(operating costs). So in theory, by self-insuring, you’re getting rid of paying someone else the operating costs and their profit. In reality its rarely that simple. Statistics are fine when you’re a company dealing with millions of clients, so the statistical risk of an individual approaches their actual risk as a corporation. It gets a little messier when you’re the guy whose house actually burns down (in which case odds are insurance ends up being a lot cheaper that being self-insured). Also there are laws in many states (and at fed level) mandating insurance on things like houses, cars, healthcare, etc. For “optional” insurance like pet insurance or boat insurance or things like that, being self-insured may make sense. You’ll probably save some money in the long run, and if you end up being in the small percentage of guys who experience the emergency, well it’s not going to be life ruining. For guns, it really depends on your point of view. If all your guns get stolen, its not like you NEED to go out and replace your collection, you could just eat the loss. Sure it would be nice to get a paycheck to cover some/all of it, but is it worth the premiums? In most cases it wont be (from a purely dollars and cents point of view).

        1. avatar DaveW says:

          If you make enough to pay to replace the property, self insurance is good.

          Insurance companies are in business to make money.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    Insurance is for pansy’s and inner city metrosexuals.

  6. avatar Nanashi says:

    Now if this was about ensuring your collection makes money, running a fake gun rights organization and using it to cut off supply so demand brings the costs sky high would be the best (and most evil) way to do it.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      One trick pony.

  7. avatar jwm says:

    If you have a valuable gun collection drop it off at my place. I’m keep it safe for you.

  8. avatar Wally1 says:

    Thank you for the information on firearm insurance. Be careful here, some companies find out you are a gun owner and will not want to insure you. I won’t mention which company. (Initials are like Special Forces? yea, figure it out). It also helps to have proof, like a photo of each firearm, then a close up to show condition and serial number. This also comes in handy for Police if you weapons are ever stolen, download it on a disk, make two copies and keep them in a bank safety security box. Because gun ownership is all about being responsible, Just my .23 cents worth (adjusted for inflation).

  9. avatar BOB says:

    NRA has insur. But had some stolen with info needed for police ,they did nothing with info who stole them SO I keep up with police hoping some day they are found.in ID.
    So a friend had a gon stolen and found in INDIA SEVERAL years later all engraved I HAD did for him never got it back, been sales care of guns for 40 year,and lots of guns stolen from people iin our state never found, but mine were ins. so didn’t loose a lot.
    I don’t think the law tries hard to recover any!! know of people with safes that were stolen from home big safes, but a safe is a good way to go for your guns hopefully I had ser #
    factory box’s ,nothing has helped just a total lose there is a time limit on how you can get pol. to capture and process for stolen guns so after time no one cares where they are!!!

    1. avatar DaveW says:

      My father’s collection was stolen. Fortunately, my grandfather made a list of the guns and serial numbers about 50 years ago. So far, two are being returned. They were in a stash of 168 firearms taken in a drug raid.

  10. avatar Wilko says:

    In 1984 before I moved to Australia, I bought 2 Royal Blue Pythons for my father and me. A year later they were stolen but about 2 years after that the FBI rep came to my fathers house with one of them for return.

    The arresting office that found it put his initials on the trigger guard with a Sharpie pen rather than a scribe tool….. Bless his heart…

    Both are still in family possession.

  11. avatar Wilko says:

    In 1984 before I moved to Australia, I bought 2 Royal Blue Pythons for my father and me. A year later they were stolen but about 2 years after that the FBI rep came to my fathers house with one of them for return.

    The arresting office that found it put his initials on the trigger guard with a Sharpie pen rather than a scribe tool….. Bless his heart…

    Both are still in family possession.
    (EDIT – the one that was still missing was replaced by insurance)

  12. avatar GunGal says:

    My security is named Bob, a male 7 year old Golden Retriever.Goldens are very sweet until someone comes up to the front door or back door. Then turns into a Stephen King’s Kujo. He is a stranger danger alarm system. And old fashioned steal legal sized filing cabinet with push in lock & key backup.
    4 drawers, 1 for legal documents, 3 for handguns and ammunition. Had to stop buying handguns when ran out of room in it. My husband built a wood rack for holster.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Dogs are fine for protecting you from the common thief, but a perp who is intent on taking your valuable stuff will either shoot your dog on the spot, or throw him a nice big appetizing chunk of beef! And, of course there are other way to disable a dog attack, bear spray comes to mind, but not sure it will work as well on Fido.

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