Do you need gun liability insurance?

You want to protect your loved ones with legal gun ownership, but do you need to be covered with gun liability insurance? Learn more about whether or not you need gun liability insurance below.

Laura Adams is one of the nation’s leading finance, insurance, and small business authorities. As an award-winning author, spokesperson, and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners, and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. As a professional accountant and financial analyst for several companies, Laura is a trusted source on various financ...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2022

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The Rundown

  • In the U.S., 500 people die from unintentional firearm injuries each year
  • Most accidental or unintentional gun injuries and deaths can be prevented by storing firearms securely
  • Gun liability insurance is available to cover damage associated with negligence and unintended shootings

Gun liability insurance

While legal gun ownership is a right, it still comes with a genuine degree of risk and responsibility. Let’s break down firearm injuries and gun deaths by the numbers. Each year, 500 people die from unintentional firearm injuries. That’s more than a person a day. Americans are four times more likely to die from an accidental gun injury than in any other high-income country.

While protecting yourself and your loved ones is a great idea, there are many unintended consequences when it comes to owning a firearm. According to one analysis, 23% of unintended gun deaths are reported as accidents. Additionally, 37% of nonfatal firearm injuries are unintentional, and 2% of gun deaths are unintentional.

Unintentional firearm injury statistics

Gun liability insurance offers gun owners important protection against various losses. Do you need gun insurance? Read on to learn more.

Unintended Shootings are Preventable

The good news is that unintended shootings are often preventable. Many shootings have extenuating circumstances. For example, nearly one in four unintentional gun deaths involved alcohol. For those aged 20-29, that number goes up to half of all cases. 

Unintended shootings are preventable

Teenagers are the most at-risk age group for unintentional gun deaths. More than 80% of teen deaths by suicide were committed using a firearm belonging to a household member. Many of these deaths can be attributed to parents storing their guns unlocked, loaded, or both. 

In 2021, at least 377 unintentional shootings by children led to 154 deaths and 242 injuries. In addition, more than 4.6 million children are living in homes that have, at the very least, one unloaded and unlocked gun. With this being the case, it is easy to see how 75% of school shootings are carried out by children with easy access to household firearms.

Does insurance make guns safer?

While insurance alone may not make guns safer, it does provide a domino effect to fewer deaths. Most unintentional shootings leading to injuries or deaths caused by firearms could have been prevented if owners properly stored their guns. Insurance companies reward good practices by providing lower premiums, and this incentive alone can cause more owners to adjust their gun safety.

Does insurance make guns safer?

Something as simple as not using a gun safe can triple the risk of death by suicide as it puts a barrier between thought and action. Another 31% of accidental deaths could be prevented by installing a child-proof safety trigger lock and a loaded chamber indicator. Additionally taking a gun safety course will help owners understand how to store their firearms properly.

Does homeowners insurance cover guns?

If you have standard homeowners insurance coverage, you may already have some coverage over firearms. Renters insurance also may include similar coverage for guns. However, even with coverage, there are several situations in which insurance will not cover the cost associated with damage.

Coverage for firearms

Homeowners or renters insurance typically doesn’t cover intentional harm, crimes committed using a stolen firearm that was not reported, and any cost associated with acts of self-defense. Intentional harm includes property damage caused by firing a gun with intent.

So what is covered? Theft or loss of firearms is covered as guns are a high-value target for thieves. In fact, in 2020, more than $135 million worth of firearms were reported stolen.

Accidental shootings where the victim is not a member of the policyholder’s household are typically covered. Liability is also covered, though some instances are explicitly excluded. 

Add-On Gun Insurance Coverage Options

Besides your basic homeowners or renters insurance coverage, you can add additional coverage options to these policies. For example, additional coverage for your firearms offers greater protection.

Add-on gun insurance coverage

A personal property protection policy will extend the coverage limit for any theft or loss of your firearms. While the standard homeowners or renters coverage is most likely sufficient for a household with one to two guns, those with more valuables or larger collections will benefit from this additional coverage. 

Another good option is umbrella liability, which extends coverage limits for all liability, including firearms. Umbrella liability kicks in after your homeowner’s policy has paid out even after its full coverage limit. However, be aware that standard policy exclusions will still apply, such as intentional acts, including self-defense. 

Separate Gun Insurance Policy Options

You can purchase a separate gun insurance policy if you feel that the homeowners or renters policies do not entirely cover your individual situation. A gun liability insurance policy covers any damages associated with negligence and unintended shootings. Some policies even cover acts of self-defense that are determined to be with “reasonable force.” 

Another option for gun coverage is self-defense insurance. This is a separate policy that covers costs associated with acts of self-defense.

Gun Liability Insurance Policy

In the U.S. alone, 31% of gun owners have used a firearm for self-defense. In 82% of incidents, no shots were fired. This policy usually includes coverage for civil and criminal defense expenses and civil damages. Some policies will even cover firearm replacements, psychological support, bail assistance, and any loss of income that may have occurred due to required presence on a court day.

Do I need gun insurance?

If you own firearms, it’s important to consider gun insurance coverage. We all want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, so it is understandable why legal gun ownership is important for your peace of mind. It is good to know all of your gun insurance options and whether or not it is already covered under your current insurance plans or if you need supplemental coverage.

While gun liability insurance may not be required where you live, it is possible that local legislation may soon change. It’s best to be prepared and consider all of your options to make the best decision for your situation.