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Concealed Carry and Liability Insurance

One issue discussed in the big gun control debate is that of mandatory liability insurance for gun owners.  The New York Times covered this, citing special liability coverage currently available to members of the NRA and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association.  Read the full article here.

The theory is that if you have to buy liability insurance for your gun as you do your car, you’ll be more careful with your weapon.  If you have your CHL, you know the goal is to never have to use the gun in the first place.  But for the sake of discussion, let’s look at what could happen if you did.

There are at least three ways an insured can injure someone with a weapon: (1) accidental discharge of the weapon; (2) intentional shooting with an intent to injure the person (shooting a criminal); or (3) intentional shooting with accidental consequences (shooting an innocent person standing behind the criminal).

Liability policies cover the insured’s responsibility for bodily injury to others as the result of an accident aka ‘accidental discharge,’ including costs for defense in court and any monetary settlement.    

Commercial General Liability and Homeowner’s policies do not cover intentional acts.  But that exclusion allows an exception for ‘bodily injury resulting from the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property.’  For example, a store owner with a CGL policy shoots a robber who threatens injury to the owner and customers.  If the robber were to sue him for injuries, the store owner would be covered under the ‘reasonable force’ clause.  If a burglar breaks down the door of your home, as a home owner using reasonable force (in this case, your gun) to defend yourself and property, you would also be covered.  If you were threatened at another location, a parking lot for example, and had to shoot to defend yourself, your Homeowner’s policy would cover that as well.

There are some older Texas policies that did not allow for this exception, so if you own a gun it’s a good idea to check to make sure your forms are up to date.

In the third example, with accidental consequences stemming from an intentional shooting, coverage is not specified and that would most likely be decided in court on a case-by-case basis. 

If you have a Concealed Handgun License, you hope to never find yourself in any of the aforementioned situations.  But we can review your specific policies and liability coverage for gun-related injuries, just in case.

 

Source:  David Surles, IIAT Texas Agent Newsletter

 

 

 

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