There is a common misconception among people who are insured with firearms/self-defense insurance policies; many believe that the insurance will cover their legal defense if they are charged with a crime after a self-defense shooting. We would like to challenge this assumption. Above is a screenshot of the US Concealed Carry Association [USCCA] liability policy. It is very clear… you are not covered if you commit any “criminal act”. This verbiage is not unique to USCCA… it is a widespread issue across the industry [an industry that loves broad-range exclusion clauses]. Virtually all CCW insurance policies have something similar in there. We just used USCCA as an example, as there was a pretty high-profile case that involved one of their “Platinum” members being denied coverage in the midst of her criminal defense case.
Example with USCCA happened here… https://www.kalb.com/content/news/Insurance-companies-respond-to-Kayla-Giles-lawsuit-against-them–565487312.html
“In response to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Western District Court of Louisiana, the United Specialty Insurance Company provides several defenses, with the most important defense saying that, in the fine print of the policy, it is stated that “USIC has no obligation to provide a defense…in connection with the investigation or defense of any criminal charge or criminal proceeding against the insured” like the second-degree murder charge Giles is facing. This means that the company is not required to make payments to Giles because she is facing criminal charges.”
Giles was ultimately convicted of 2nd-degree murder and obstruction of justice by the jury: https://www.ksla.com/2022/01/30/jury-finds-kayla-giles-guilty-both-second-degree-murder-obstruction-justice/
Ms. Giles’ case may not have been a good example of a clear-cut self-defense shooting. She may have indeed been guilty, and perhaps the verdict was just. We are not trying to argue against the verdict here… that is not the point. The point is that the Giles case brought to light a hidden reality that these insurance companies do not like to see exposed… that they have “no obligation to provide [criminal] defense”. And if you are charged with a crime, you can toss the civil benefits out the window as well.
BOTTOM LINE: You have to look at your specific insurance policy to determine your actual coverage; distinguishing between civil and criminal proceedings. And I would ignore anything you are told by the company’s customer service or sales reps. A 20-year-old making $14/hr to answer phones will not give you sound advice on your coverage, or the legal nuances therein. Read the documents.
Here is the bigger problem… if an anti-gun, anti-self-defense activist prosecutor charges you with a conjured-up “crime”, your insurance has a way out of paying your legal defense fees, and subsequently, your civil liability damages as well. If you end up facing any criminal charges, or you committed a “criminal act” according to the authorities, they don’t have to pay. Think this can’t happen to you?… think again. Look at how many “elected” prosecutors are backed and funded by guys like Michael Bloomberg and George Soros… it will make your eyes pop out. They can and do slap people with charges for political reasons, even if they know a conviction is a long shot [think Rittenhouse and the McCloskey’s]. They openly admit that this is part of their “social justice” integration strategy for “criminal justice reform”. There is virtually no risk of any real consequences to the prosecutor, beyond a scathed ego. I have yet to see single case in which a prosecutor went to prison for, or was held personally liable for destroying the life of a gun owner by bringing fraudulent or excessive criminal charges against them. If anyone ever pays for the prosecutor’s crimes, it is the taxpayers in that jurisdiction.
This is not intended to be doom-and-gloom… more of a reality check. You should know what to expect and plan accordingly, as to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you are in the midst of a bad situation. The truth is that if you engage in something that goes beyond a clean-cut, self-defense shooting, no insurance in the world can guarantee you won’t go to prison for murder and/or face bankruptcy fighting it. Realistically, neither Rittenhouse nor the McCloskey’s had perfect cases, despite having very obvious reasons to legitimately fear for their lives. And even if your case is perfect textbook self-defense, you may still have an anti-gun prosecutor, an anti-gun judge and an anti-gun jury to deal with. All of this should be considered when deciding whether there is any real value in paying ~$500/year for insurance that has so many exit doors.
As always, using your gun only as a last resort to stop an imminent and immediate threat against life and limb is the best defense.