Why Self-Defense Insurance Is So Important

Before we get too far, let’s establish this is not an article endorsing any brand or provider of self-defense insurance. We will talk about the need for coverage in general ways, with no leaning toward any one company. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. Nor am I handing out legal advice. This is general information about self-defense liability coverage.

What is Self-Defense Insurance?

If you’re new to the concealed carry world or have never heard of self-defense coverage before, it’s extra coverage above and beyond any life, health, automobile, or homeowners/renters insurance you currently carry and is specifically designed to cover self-defense encounters, such as a shooting where you had to defend your life or the life of someone else at a level up to and including deadly force.

Self-defense insurance is liability-based coverage designed to help you financially if you ever get involved in a self-defense encounter. Coverage levels vary among providers, but generally, they include items such as attorney fees (some even help you find an attorney), bail, and potential civil suit payouts. It is important to note, however, that these policies only cover you if the incident is justified. If the court finds you guilty of murder or other criminal charge, it’s no longer self-defense, so you’re on your own.

Why Not Just Use My Homeowners Insurance?

It might make sense that a self-defense shooting of a bad guy who broke into your house would be covered by homeowners insurance, but it’s not. Homeowners insurance is designed to pay for accidental or natural disaster damages to your home and any liability for people who get hurt on your property by accident. A self-defense shooting is not an accident, and your home or property didn’t cause it, so a homeowners policy won’t cover it. “But mine does,” you say. Read it carefully. You’ll be surprised.

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How Does Self-Defense Coverage Work?

Like other types of insurance, you pay an annual or monthly premium for coverage. If something happens that you need to use your coverage, you contact your provider, and they handle it from there.

Coverage extends to more than concealed carry, and it doesn’t have to be self-defense with a gun. It can be any weapon or even no weapon. It also typically covers self-defense encounters at home or anywhere else you are allowed to be.

I Don’t Need Coverage If the Shooting is Justified, Right?

Consider the following real case from a few years ago. A man was awakened in the middle of the night by an intruder in his home. The homeowner shot and killed the intruder to protect himself and his family. The shooting was deemed justified under criminal law, and the homeowner was never arrested or charged with a crime. However, a few months later, he was subpoenaed for a civil case about the justified shooting. Unbeknownst to the homeowner, the intruder he shot owed child support payments to an ex-wife, who was now suing the homeowner because by killing the intruder, he had deprived her of the ability to collect those payments. Seems like a frivolous suit, right? Not so fast.


Criminal and civil courts have two entirely different sets of rules. Criminal court says a defendant must be proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a deliberately high standard. On the other hand, civil court says a party must only be found at least 51% responsible to be liable for damages. Fair or not, that’s how it works.

In this case, the judge ruled that the homeowner was responsible for the intruder’s death — no matter how justified it was under the criminal code — and was therefore liable to pay the ex-wife for the child support she could no longer collect to the tune of $75,000. Fortunately, the homeowner had self-defense insurance, which fully covered the liability payment.

If You Own a Gun…

Whether you carry concealed regularly or only keep a gun for home defense, any time that gun is used, you are opening yourself up to legal action, whether criminal, civil, or both, even if your actions are justified legally. You can protect yourself and your family and still get in liability hot water. All the other insurance coverage you currently carry will not cover these sorts of encounters. Sign up for self-defense insurance and cover yourself, just in case.


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David Workman is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. As an NRA-certified instructor, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as possible. “Real-life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”



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2 thoughts on “Why Self-Defense Insurance Is So Important”

  1. I have insurance. I won’t say through who because it’s a personal choice, but there’s many to choose from. Anyone who has seen the news, if you’re involved in a shooting, whether you’re cleared or not, a civil suit will arise. Even IF it doesn’t, the cost of defending yourself in the ‘legal’ system is too much, not to mention the STRESS. I pay $16/month. That covers me (bail, lawyers, court costs, damages, finding a lawyer, investigators, etc etc etc) anywhere AND my wife while she’s at home. The coverage and peace of mind is well worth the small monthly payment. CYA and get some!

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