Are you covered if another person is accidentally injured with your weapon? What if you are in a critical defense situation and you shoot someone in self-defense? These answers are not cut and dry, but require a very complex answer. If you are a gun owner continue reading to find out more.
On this page we break down some common questions every gun owner needs an ask. All of these questions are around gun-owners liability if someone steals or is injured by their weapon. Is the owner responsible and will your current homeowner’s insurance cover this exposure? The questions below deserve very detailed explanation and if you’re among the 1 in 3 Americans who own a gun. You should be asking your insurance professional these questions.
“1 of 3 Americans own a gun and 1 – 10 who don’t personally own a gun live with someone who does.”
Does owning a gun make you a higher liability or increase your insurance premiums?
Short answer is NO. Most insurance companies do not pay close attention to which of their insureds actually own a gun. With that being said simply owning a firearm is not a factor that the majority of insurance companies use in their rating factors for homeowner’s insurance premiums. In fact, only a small number of insurance companies actually require you to disclose whether you possess a firearm when you apply for insurance. In some states, insurance companies are not allowed to ask if you own any firearms.
Will my homeowner’s liability insurance cover accidental shootings?
Yes, but many times this answer comes with questions and lots of caveats. If a person is injured by an accidental discharge of a firearm, the family of the injured party could bring a lawsuit against the homeowner. As a result, the homeowners (you) could submit a claim under their homeowners Insurance policy. This could also be the case for accidental shooting that occur outside of the home, example would be during a group hunt – as long as the incident isn’t classified as a crime by local law.
However, every state has stipulations for what constitutes as a crime. Storing your firearm in a place that minors could find it may be considered a crime in some states. If the situation results in a criminal action then a claim on your homeowners’ insurance could be declined. Also, if any drugs or alcohol are involved this could also result in criminal charges and coverage would be most likely declined.
“If it is truly an accident, you’re probably covered,” says Peter Kochenburger, deputy director of the Insurance Law Center at the UConn School of Law. “But the precise wording of your policy can make a big difference to whether an injury or death caused by a gun is ruled an accident or not.”
If your homeowner’s insurance would cover you for an incident like this you need to be aware you how much coverage you have. Now Is the time to dig out your insurance policy and see how much liability coverage you have. In the state of Missouri most homeowners’ policies come with $100,000 in coverage as “standard coverage”. Your next questions should be; Is this enough coverage for legal fees and medical expenses should someone ever file a personal injury suit against you or our family?
You may also have the option to purchase a liability umbrella policy along with your homeowner’s insurance plan. The additional umbrella liability coverage will provide you with a minimum of $1,000,0000 in liability coverage over your current homeowner’s policy limit. These plans are ideal for every homeowner and have a starting price of $125.00 per year.
However, if your family member is injured you will not have coverage under your liability insurance. Because you can not bring a lawsuit against yourself you would have to look for coverage under your medial payment’s coverage. Medical payments coverage has a maximum coverage amount in many states. You should reach out to your personal insurance plan provider to discover the maximum in your state. To increase this coverage the cost is minimal compared to the cost of increasing your dwelling coverage on your policy.