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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.