Self Defense Insurance Plans Compared

Update 5/20/2018: There have been many changes in the self-defense legal insurance market since this post was written. This post has better, more relevant information.

With an increasing amount of people legally choosing to carry a self-defense firearm, there has been a number of high-profile court cases recently that have shown us what might happen if a person needs to defend their life with a legally carried gun.

By some accounts, George Zimmerman’s legal bills have totaled more than $2 million for his high-profile defensive shooting court case. While that is an extreme example of the possible financial burden, there is always the risk of arrest, trial and conviction after any defensive gun use.

Self defense insurance (or a similar policy) is one way to avoid financial ruin after you need to use lethal force to save your life or the lives of others. Here are a number of similar-priced insurance and member-based self-defense policies for you to review, make a comparison and chose the plan for your needs and budget. The descriptions for each of these companies were taken pretty much intact from each company’s website so as to give as neutral a view as possible as to what each of them provide for legally armed citizens.

Second Call DefenseSecond Call Defense

Second Call Defense provides training and education plus comprehensive legal and financial resources to help our members deal with the consequences after they have used a gun in self defense. Depending on the membership level, members have access to as much as $250,000 for damages for Civil Suit damage protection, $250,000 for accidental shooting liability, $50,000 Criminal Defense reimbursement and up to $1 million in Civil Suit defense protection.

law_shieldTexas Law Shield

If a member uses a firearm or any legal weapon in Texas under the Texas Law Shield Firearms Legal Defense Program, program attorneys will represent the member in any legal proceeding (criminal or civil), for zero additional attorneys’ fees. This includes all criminal charges arising from a use of a gun or any legal weapon. While our services are quite comprehensive, the following are not covered: expert witness fees, governmental fees of any type, investigator fees, or bail bonds.

usccaUnited States Concealed Carry Association

The USSCA Self-Defense Shield is a members-only, firearms liability insurance benefit that reduces the legal and financial burden of owning a gun for self-defense. The insurance-backed benefits include Civil Suit Defense & Damages Protection, which provides up to $1 Million if charges are ever brought against a member in civil court. Members are also eligible for a Criminal Defense Reimbursement, which offers members up to $100,000 to help cover the costs of criminal charges or proceedings which result from the use of a weapon in self-defense.

CCW SafeCCW Safe

CCW Safe defends its members against criminal prosecution stemming from a self defense incident and also defends members against civil litigation or administrative actions stemming from a use of force incident. If a member is involved in a use of deadly force self defense incident we provide the best defense attorneys in the U.S., expert witnesses, and investigators specially trained in use of force lawsuits and investigations. No limits or caps and no optional memberships or additional fees.

alcdnArmed Citizens’ Legal Defense Fund

The Armed Citizens’ Network Legal Defense Fund provides legal defense support to Network members after a self-defense incident. This support is supplied in two different ways.
First, the Network will forward up to $10,000 to the member’s attorney at the request of the member after a self-defense incident.
Secondly, if the member is charged with a crime or sued civilly and needs additional money for his or her legal defense, then the member can ask for additional funding.

sdaSelf Defense Alliance

The SDA exists because your homeowner’s coverage does not afford you the protection you need in a self-defense situation.
If a civil suit is brought against a member due to the use of a legally possessed firearm in conjunction with the act of self-defense, then Self Defense Coverage will indemnify the member, for the reasonable costs and expenses incurred, in the defense and settlement of the suit.

I’ve created a handy infographic that lists out what each plan costs, what’s covered, and what is not covered. Where no item is listed on a plan, that item is either not covered or is not clearly defined as being covered. I am indebted to Sabrina Karels of the Highmark blog for her initial work on this comparison, and in addition to her research on CCW Safe, Second Call Defense, Texas Law Shield and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, I’ve  included similar offerings from the Self Defense Association and the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network. I am not a lawyer, nor did I sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night. This is not legal advice, do not take it as such or you’re probably screwed. (Click to make bigger).

self defense insurance comparison

This self defense insurance comparison should give you a better idea of what’s out there for the person who’s as concerned at winning the legal battle as they are the court battle. This is an update to a previous post I did on this subject and should not be considered as a definitive list of all your options: Several of the organizations have plans that cost more or less than what’s listed on the infographic, and I urge everyone to do their research and make their own decisions. As for myself,  I am a member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network and an affiliate of the USCCA.

UPDATE: I have a side-by-side comparison of two of the higher-end plans over here.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Regarding your advice on self-defense insurance, it appears that the Tampa Bay Times has an issue with the 2nd and 5th Amendments, especially by those who would purchase self-defense insurance, while enjoying 1st Amendment rights.

    Keeping the words of the 911 operator in the George Zimmerman case that were used against him, in the following story, note the questions from the 911 operator that could and would be used against the caller:

    “U.S. Concealed Carry says it has more than 135,000 members. Second Call Defense declined to release its membership numbers, but co-founder Sean Maloney estimated around 500,000 people across the country belong to such organizations.

    There are legal and financial repercussions to acting in self-defense, Michalowski said. He said he’s seen burglars sue the homeowners they tried to rob for shooting them and gun owners who, after defending themselves, could not afford an attorney or bail.

    His group helps gun owners, he said, so “they don’t lose everything for doing the right thing.”

    Stetson University law professor Charles Rose fears such groups could actually inflame armed confrontations: giving gun owners legal advice beforehand and financial reassurance afterward could make them “more comfortable” pulling out a firearm.

    Rose was also troubled by the instructions those groups offer to give only basic information to 911 operators.

    “Describe to them what you look like and what you’re wearing,” read a U.S. Concealed Carry booklet, “but apart from that, simply repeat that you were in fear for your life and that someone has been shot.”

    The organization gives members a wallet-sized card to hand to officers after a shooting. It tells police the member will not consent to any searches or speak until they have talked to an attorney. And it says: “As a lawfully armed citizen, I ask for the same courtesy that you would show a fellow officer who was involved in a similar situation.”

    Said Michalowski: “We give them information so they don’t jeopardize their legal defense.”

    To Rose, that sounds like coaching gun owners to hamper the investigation.

    “It’s a well-organized attack on the ability of law enforcement to properly investigate crimes where stand your ground is implicated,” Rose said, “because (the groups) are now creating circumstances and coaching people on what to say.”

    It appears the topic of self-defense groups has not been widely explored by the legal community. Experts contacted by the Times had never heard of such groups.

    While the American Bar Association has taken a stance against “stand your ground” laws, it hasn’t yet looked into the growing number of self-defense insurance groups doling out legal advice, said the chair of the Bar’s “stand your ground” task force, Leigh-Ann Buchanan.

    Franks, the University of Miami law professor, has a deeper concern. This level of detailed instruction, she said, could be abused by someone looking for a guidebook to use deadly force.

    “It gives such individuals a ‘script’ in both a figurative and literal sense: the narrative of a noble man using his gun to impose respect and order and the precise words that man needs to use to avoid liability for his actions,” Franks said.

    But Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson said that’s highly unlikely. There are so many variables in the legal system, he said, that there’s “no equation someone could get their hands on” that would guarantee they would not be charged or put on trial after taking a life.
    “Thinking about putting together criminal activity with some bit of knowledge you got out of one of these sites seems like a fool’s enterprise,” he said.

    Educating gun owners make sense, Johnson said.

    “What they’re doing is educating people on the precise boundaries that operate with regard to self-defense,” he said.

    “I see that as a good thing. “The mistake you worry about . . . is people not having the sense of when it’s proper to use deadly force.””

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