Firearm Insurance for Gun Owners

In 2009, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported that there were 14,033,824 guns purchased in the U.S. That was a 10% increase from the previous year, and the actual number of guns could be even higher, since the NICS background checks can cover multiple purchases by an individual. The FBI also reported that about $142 million worth of firearms were stolen in 2008. If you’re one of the estimated 4 million American gun and rifle owners, you need to make sure your valuable firearms are adequately insured.

Most, but not all, standard homeowners insurance policies and renters insurance policies include firearms as part of the personal property coverage for household items. Depending on your policy, the maximum claim is probably between $1,000 and $2,500, less deductible (although some insurers do offer higher sub-limits, so ask when you get homeowners insurance quotes). That sub-limit is typically a total per incident for all your guns, not per gun. As with any claim for personal property loss, be sure you save your receipts for firearms purchased. Even better, take a photo of your gun or rifle and keep it with the receipt.  You should also check with your insurance company to learn if they require documentation for your firearms as a condition of coverage. Better to know this and provide it ahead of time than to find out that your claim is invalidated.

You can also purchase a rider that increases your coverage. But that may not be sufficient to replace an especially valuable gun, rifle or collection once you pay the deductible. In this case, you may be better off finding an insurance company that will let you schedule your firearms. This means that you will receive full reimbursement for your loss with no deductible. Obviously, your premiums for this kind of firearm insurance will be higher. Note, too, that some insurers require that any firearm valued over $2,500 be documented in a separate schedule.

Some people express concern that declaring a firearm will cause their homeowners insurance premiums to increase because of the perceived liability. Generally speaking this is not the case, unless they are insured under a separate schedule.


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