Homeowners who have firearms often wonder how their gun ownership can affect their insurance. It’s important that people with these questions understand that there are two perspectives under which you have to examine this issue:
- Considering a firearm as a source of elevated risk in the home.
- Considering a firearm as a valuable to insure.
Generally speaking, firearms are considered under a similar light to any of your other valuables, but gun owners should make sure they understand how firearms ownership impacts their coverage and any potential claims, as well as what other options they have for homeowners coverage.
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How Firearm Ownership Affects Home Insurance
Although there’s a common misconception that gun owners are charged more for home insurance, generally speaking, gun owners are not penalized when it comes to determining their insurance rates as most are not even asked about their gun ownership status.
Instead, legally owned and appropriately registered firearms are treated as valuables to insure in the event of theft or property damage.
In order to determine the cost of your homeowners insurance premiums, companies look at:
- The total cost to replace or repair your home
- The total value of your belongings covered under your policy
- The risk of damage to your insured property
- The risk of injury or death on your insured property
While some insurers do make the determination that gun ownership means a higher level of risk, many companies do not, which is a good reason to make sure to thoroughly explore options in your area when you consider purchasing a new policy.
How Firearms-Related Injuries Are Covered
Under their policies, people with homeowners insurance are often covered whenever there is a firearm-related injury or death on the insured property. That assumes, of course, that the incident does not involve a criminal act, at which point many policies’ coverage would be voided.
Any incident involving a firearm, including the use of a gun in defense of yourself, others, and your belongings, will automatically be investigated in order to find out if you used your firearms legally and appropriately. The outcome will often determine your actual coverage.
To minimize the risk of accidents, gun owners should always employ standard safety measures and protocols involving the storage, maintenance, and accessibility of any firearms they own.
Coverage for these types of incidents in the home can vary depending on the state, so it’s important that you get the specific details from your insurance provider to fully understand how your policy applies.
What Options Exist for Firearms Insurance
There are two types of insurance often recommended to gun owners that can help you make sure you have the coverage you need: umbrella insurance and home insurance riders for firearms. Both of these options add protection to a standard home insurance policy.
Because of the two ways firearms can be considered when it comes to insurance, either as a source of risk or property to insure, either or both of these can be good options. However, it’s important for you to understand that they cover costs incurred to you as a result of gun ownership in very different ways so you can make the best choice for your needs.
Umbrella insurance doesn’t just apply for gun owners. It’s a type of policy that adds additional coverage to the liability limit of homeowners insurance, which typically covers about $100,000 worth of liability after a firearm-related incident in your home.
You can have financial consequences even if you used your firearm legally and in self-defense, so be sure to thoroughly explore options for umbrella insurance under your current provider as well as other insurers in your area to make an informed decision for you and your family.
As firearms are often regarded as valuables to insure, there can be limits on how much personal property coverage from your homeowners insurance policy will apply if damage or theft occurs.
A home insurance rider for firearms is a specific type of insurance that increases the total property value coverage in addition to your standard coverage. This is an appropriate choice for gun owners who know they have particularly valuable firearms or have a gun collection that potentially exceeds coverage limits under the normal policy.
If you know the amount of money your firearms are worth or are concerned you don’t have enough personal property coverage, make sure to check with your policyholder to understand what financial protection you have for your firearms.
How Your Firearm Safety Affects Home Insurance
When you own a gun, it’s important to always take firearm safety seriously. Basic principles of firearm safety dictate that a firearm should always be treated as if it has the potential to go off, so only those who are trained and/or legally registered to the gun should use it.
There should be restricted access to your weapon at all times, and guns should always be stored in appropriate firearm safes or other secure storage. Those who live with a gun owner should also understand these basic rules.
While there are many options for insurers that won’t charge gun owners more, the better you adhere to firearm safety, the less likely you’ll have to worry about any of the legal ramifications of a firearm incident you’ve learned about here.