Guns and Insurance: What You Need to Know
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Let’s tackle a pretty hot topic here in the United States. The more the spotlight focuses on gun ownership, the more questions will pop up here at TTAI about guns and insurance.
Namely, are my personal firearms covered by my homeowner’s insurance policy?
The good news is that almost every standard homeowner’s insurance policy provides limited coverage for guns and rifles in your home.
So, what do we mean by limited? Great question. The limitations on standard home insurance policies relating to guns are typically only the dollar amount of coverage that is automatically included.
You can typically expect to see a $2,500 limit on guns in your home. In some cases, a single firearm may not be covered for more than $500.
This means if you have five firearms valued at $500 each in your home and their stolen or damaged by any other covered cause of loss, you will be fully reimbursed – assuming you have a replacement cost loss valuation for your personal property.
Here are some common follow up questions answered for you.
Do I Have To Tell My Insurer About the Guns?
NOPE! Just like many other types of personal property covered by sub-limits of liability (think jewelry and fine china), the coverage is automatically included on a standard home insurance policy.
What If I Have More Than $2,500 Worth of Guns?
Congratulations, you have quite an arsenal. Again, just like other types of potentially high value personal items in your home, you may increase your policy limits accordingly, by endorsement (also known as a rider), to cover your guns for a higher limit.
There may be some limits – think $20,000 to $50,000 maximum on the standard home insurance policy. Anything more than that and you’re going to have to get a separate policy known as a personal articles floater.
This will be a little more expensive, but necessary to protect your property to full value. It’s no different than buying a personal articles floater for jewelry if you happen to own quite a bit.
Does Insurance Cost More If I Have Guns?
While TTAI is not the final word on every home insurance policy from every company in every state, we can say pretty confidently that home insurance does not increase due to owning firearms, as gun ownership is typically not a rating factor.
More typical rating factors include: your zip code, the age of your home, your insurance credit score, claim history, and the year your home was built.
Do I Have to Keep My Guns in a Safe?
Again, read your home insurance policy for the fine details, but the standard ISO homeowners insurance policy does not have a single detail relating to gun ownership or storage in their policy form.
If your current insurer requires any information about your guns and their storage, call an independent insurance agent and ask to get quotes from an insurer who doesn’t. You will certainly find several who could care less.
Can My Claim Be Denied If I Don’t Tell My Insurer About My Guns?
Nope. This is no different than filing a claim for your stolen TV and not having told your insurer that you owned a TV. As long as your claim is within the policy coverage limit and your cause-of-loss is covered (i.e. stolen or lost in a fire), file away and expect to be reimbursed.
Can My Policy Be Canceled or Non-Renewed If My Insurer Discovers I Own Guns?
Again, check your policy for specifics, but we’re comfortable telling you that most insurers could care less. If you are told your policy is being cancelled or non-renewed because of gun ownership, you may contact your State Department of Insurance to determine if it’s legal.
While it is certainly not state law anywhere that you can’t get home insurance if you own guns (legally), any particular insurer may decide they aren’t comfortable with guns within property they insure. If their contract (your policy) details that tidbit, simply find a new insurer.
Am I Covered If I Shoot Someone?
If a firearm is accidentally discharged, you’ll likely have coverage for the resulting bodily injury and property damage you cause to others.
Bodily injury liability pertains to “others” you’ve harmed. Similarly, you cannot file a claim against your home insurer if you slip and fall in your own house.
Of course, you will likely need to contact an attorney if anyone gets shot with your gun. TTAI aims to help you out with understanding insurance and we certainly have no idea what we’re talking about when it comes to legal issues!
Lastly, if guns are a bigger part of your life than simply owning a few for hunting or personal defense, you should contact an insurance agent to discuss your unique personal situation.