Does Being a Gun Owner Affect Your Home Insurance Rate?
Most insurance companies don’t ask policy holders if they own a gun or firearm, however, there is a brewing controversy with companies that do discriminate based on whether you have one in the home. Gun owners feel it’s unfair that they are penalized by paying higher premiums for their insurance. However, practices also vary between the companies that do take gun ownership into consideration when quoting home insurance pricing, so it’s wise to get a few quotes and take the time to ask what each company’s policy is regarding gun ownership.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of homicide increases by 40% for those who live in a home that contains a gun. Since insurance companies are all about risk assessment, they may adjust your rates based on this statistic and raise them, enforce safety requirements about storage, or they may decide not to offer you coverage. If you have a gun, but also have a criminal record involving use of a gun, the insurance company may raise your premium costs or opt not to extend coverage for you. It will depend on your company, the agent you work with, and your personal gun use and past history.
However, as a gun owner, you’ll be happy to know that most home insurance policies cover the theft and damage of a firearm as part of its personal property coverage, however, the limit is only up to $2,500 of the loss. So if you have a gun that costs more than that or own more than one gun, you may want to consider adding extra coverage or a rider to help protect against the loss of your gun due to theft or damages.
Another aspect to consider is that having a gun means there’s a greater liability from an accident or emergency situation if someone were to get hurt or killed at your home. If that were to happen due to an accidental gun discharge, then it’s likely that your home insurance policy would cover it, similar to any other injuries that are accounted for under the liability insurance. However, if you intentionally shot the gun and hurt or killed someone in your home, the situation gets a bit more complex. Many home insurance policies wouldn’t cover for it, even if it was to protect your assets and your safety, since it may be considered a part of the “intentional injury exclusions,” meaning any intentional damage or harm that was done won’t be covered.
Aside from the insurance considerations, there can be heavy legal consequences to shooting an intruder in your home, which may require you to pay for financial compensation, or for the legal proceedings and fees, especially if a wrongful death lawsuit was brought up against you.
Since a basic home insurance policy usually has a $100,000 liability limit, if you’re a gun owner, you may want to consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy to give yourself additional protection. A lawsuit plus any related medical and funeral expenses will easily top that $100,000 limit. An umbrella policy would provide an expanded liability coverage and limit that extends beyond gun use to any accident or incident that you could be held personally liable for. Another possibility to consider is specialty insurance for gun owners, there may also be discounts if you follow certain regulations on gun storage and safety.
Being a gun owner, you do face a possible increase or change in your home insurance policy, but if you shop around you should be able to find the right coverage with the right price for you.
Do you keep guns at home? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.