Concealed Carry Insurance is a topic that gets discussed in concealed carry circles and online quite a lot. A lot of this discussion focuses on whether or not it is worth the money, necessary at all, or just some kind of scam. The opinions vary considerably, with the general consensus seeming to be “it doesn’t hurt to have it.” Some “entry level” plans can be as low as around $10 a month, with prices going up to around $30-$40 a month for a higher level of coverage. Recently, the NRA announced that it is entering the concealed carry insurance market, which is what prompted me to write this article, as all indications are pointing toward this sort of insurance becoming more and more mainstream.
As a practicing attorney, though, it is another interdisciplinary topic for me. I’m familiar with the costs of litigation, the potential criminal and civil liability, and in dealing with insurance companies generally. So I’ve usually got something to add to the frequent conversations about concealed carry insurance coverage, and I would be remiss not to repeat my recommendations on my own blog.
Whenever someone asks whether or not they should get concealed carry insurance, I always ask them this: How much uninsured motorist (UM) coverage do you carry? This might seem like a completely unrelated issue, but stick with me for a minute. I work on a lot of plaintiff personal injury cases and I constantly run in to the same problem – the client is hurt in a car wreck, and the person who hit them has little to no insurance. Then we find out that the client also has a little to no UM coverage (the insurance companies often try to convince you to waive the coverage to save on your premium, and many people don’t realize how terrible of an idea this is). So client is hurt, and can’t get any money. Sucks to be them, and sucks to be me, because I can’t make any money on the case, either.
This happens all the time, every day. A huge number of drivers out there, if not the majority, carry no more than state minimum coverage. Chances are, the person most likely to be driving irresponsibly and causing a wreck is also pretty irresponsible about having a lot of insurance coverage, or any worthwhile assets to even bother suing over. On the other hand, the only insurance you can guarantee is available to you if you are hurt in an accident is your UM coverage.
Here are some stats:
On an average, there are more than 6 million car accidents on the roads of the US, annually.
More than 3 million people get injured due to car accidents, with more than 2 million of these injuries being permanent.
There are in excess of 40,000 deaths due to car accidents every year.
Every 12 minutes, one person dies because of a car accident. Every 14 seconds, a car accident results in an injured victim.
For those in the age group of 1 to 30 years, the leading cause of death is due to being involved in a car accident.
By car insurance industry estimates, you will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. That’s if you’re an average driver, which, whether you’re willing to admit it or not, you likely are.
The point is, you will almost certainly be in a car accident in your life, perhaps several. You also stand a very substantial chance of being injured very seriously. This can be extremely expensive (follow up question – how much health insurance do you have?) and permanently debilitating.
But here are a bunch of people who just started carrying a gun, worried about the super rare occasion of facing prosecution for shooting someone, and willing to pay money to insure against that, though they probably haven’t given any thought to their UM coverage since buying their policy. They may have even waived UM coverage. I recently found out that my own mother had a state minimum, 15/30 policy. She was paying around $600 (six month premium, I believe) for this. I convinced her to raise her coverage. For a $900 premium, she now has a 300/500 policy. So for a 50% increase in premium, she has a 2000% increase in coverage. That same day, we almost got T-boned by a car going 55 mph.
Back to concealed carry insurance, I think it is probably a good thing to have. I would generally subscribe to the “it doesn’t hurt” line of reasoning. I’m a fan of insurance generally. But if you’re willing to spend X dollars a year on insurance, you should really be spending it first on insurance you are most likely to use, like UM.
I personally don’t have concealed carry insurance, and wouldn’t bother buying it, until I at least had half a million in UM coverage. Maybe even a million. (I don’t have that level of coverage yet, but a man can dream). The chances of getting in a car wreck with 6 figure medical bills is much more likely than the chances of being prosecuted for shooting someone in self-defense, especially because you can limit your exposure for a defensive shooting with good training. If you make sure you don’t shoot anyone under questionable circumstances, and that your actions are justified, your chances of prosecution or civil liability are very low.
Concealed Carry insurance policies often also come with an attorney referral service, or the insurer will provide an attorney for you (as your car insurance company would). However, I think it would be much better to go ahead and independently establish a relationship with a criminal defense lawyer. Make sure it is someone you like and can trust before you actually need him. There is no guaranteeing that your lawyer from the concealed carry insurer is any good or cares much about your case. There are very few lawyers with a lot of experience in self defense shootings anyway, because such shootings are reasonably rare, and prosecution for them is rarer still. There are a ton of experienced car wreck lawyers, though, because like I said before, car wrecks happen constantly. But a good criminal defense lawyer would be the best person to consult with regarding how to behave after shooting someone, and it is generally a good idea to have a relationship with one anyway. When you’ve been arrested and you’re asserting your right to an attorney, you at least want to know who that is. You don’t want to have to go shopping around for lawyers while you’ve got pending charges. You won’t be in the best state of mind at that point. So pick a lawyer, maybe have a meeting with him, which should only be a fairly small consultation fee, about how to act if you shoot someone. Keep his number in your phone, so you know who to call.
If you’ve done all these things, you have great uninsured motorist coverage, and you already know who your criminal lawyer is, by all means, buy concealed carry insurance if you want it. After all, the monthly premiums start at about the same price as a single box of ammo.