A lot of people either own a gun or live in a household with someone who does. But unfortunately, even many long-time firearms owners have never taken the time to consider the insurance and liability implications of having a firearm in their home. Guns are both valuable and potentially dangerous objects. Because of the dual factors of value and risk, it’s critically important for gun owners to make sure they understand how guns and insurance go together so they can take appropriate steps to protect themselves as well as their firearms.
Does gun ownership raise my homeowners insurance rates? Do gun owners need special insurance policies or riders? Will owning guns lead to the possibility that my policy may be cancelled or declined? Owning a gun or guns can lead to a lot of insurance questions. Let’s answer these questions and clear up some of the misconceptions.
Your traditional homeowners policy generally covers guns under Personal Property. While the coverage is not excluded, there is usually a “sub limit” for special items like firearms. Firearms typically have a limit of $2,000 – $3,000 depending on the insurance carrier. This means that if your gun(s) are stolen, or lost or damaged in a catastrophic event you will receive up to only the maximum limit regardless of the number of firearms stolen or the value of the guns. This dollar amount may vary slightly depending on your insurance carrier.
It’s important to consider the cost of the firearms themselves. Gun owners with a single gun or hunting rifle may not find this to be an issue. Gun collectors, or individuals with multiple firearms may find this to be woefully inadequate. Because your personal property coverage is a percentage of your dwelling coverage, you’ll also want to consider how much these high-value items would eat into your total coverage limit if they were lost in a catastrophic event.
As stated above people who own one or two firearms are usually well served by the protections in a standard homeowners or renters policy. Those with more guns in their personal collection, or antique firearms will need to work with an independent agent to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. This is a policy add-on, often called a rider that allows homeowners and renters to cover all items within a sub-limited category to make sure that all firearm property is protected. This would give your firearms their own separate coverage limits and would require you to provide documentation regarding the purchase and value of your firearms. If they are antiques, you’ll need appraisals.
The process of obtaining scheduled coverage is fairly simple:
While many companies offer riders for scheduling jewelry and other items, not all are willing to offer separate coverage for guns. If this is the case, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing specialty coverage on a stand-alone firearms policy.
Owning firearms comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. While your standard homeowners insurance policy can cover you up to $1,000,000 in personal liability coverage (or damage/harm you might cause to others), you should consider increasing that limit to the maximum your insurance company will allow. Most companies will allow you to purchase up to $3 or $5 million. This limit can be increased further by purchasing an umbrella liability policy to stand above all of your other liability policies, including automobile and home.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and with a mid-west office in Louisville, Kentucky, Foundation Insurance Group is an independent full-service insurance agency specializing in auto, home, life, and business insurance. Since our founding in 1994 the mission has been simple: “Our mission is to provide solid solutions backed by superior service at a competitive price.” For years we’ve partnered with a variety of top rated insurance carriers to fulfill this mission and to provide our clients with tailored insurance programs that fit the unique needs of an individual or business.
Not sure where to start? Talk to your Foundation Insurance Group agent today to make sure you not only have the right homeowners coverage, but also enough coverage for the guns you own and your options for better protecting your property and financial interests. Contact us today, or visit our website: www.foundationinsurancegroup.com.