Updated September 2020
Do you need CCW insurance? It is a question many people are asking themselves these days, but what their real question should be is, “Do I need CCW legal coverage?”
The answer, however, may not be as straightforward as you think, because it is not a question you want to ask after you have used your weapon for self-defense. You buy these legal services in advance, and this is why it may seem more like insurance than a legal service.
Civil unrest is a given these days. Looting, riots, and home invasions are so common in some areas that the police can’t control them. It’s no wonder that homeowners have taken things into their own hands. However, even in your own home, your acts of self-defense can result in legal actions.
After an incident involving a weapon used in self-defense, you could be charged with having committed a criminal act. A home invader can bring up a civil action against you if they are injured because of your home defense. Your right to carry a concealed weapon can be threatened by administrative actions brought against you. These lawsuits can cost millions of dollars, effectively destroying your life for defending your home. This is when concealed carry weapon (CCW) insurance can save the day.
No company is going to offer you a monthly legal plan after you use a weapon in self-defense. You need to affiliate with a company in advance. This article is written to guide you through a comparison of the various companies and plans offered so that you can make an informed decision on what the best plan is for you.
CCW Insurance Companies
There are only a handful of insurance companies that offer policies to protect gun owners who have to use their weapons in self-defense. They are typically companies whose sole purpose is to protect these people and their 2nd Amendment rights. The two biggest companies by far are CCW Safe and USCCA. What follows is a CCW Safe versus USCCA benefit and plan comparison.
CCW Safe is a legal service membership plan designed for CCW permit/license holders, active and retired military, law enforcement, and civilian gun owners. If a member has to defend himself through the use of force, CCW Safe will absorb the expenses associated with legal defenses. That includes attorneys fees, investigators, expert witnesses, and other court-related costs. No money, beyond advance membership, is required of the member in these instances, nor is there any financial cap on their legal defense (important to look for).
CCW Safe was co-founded by three people; Mike Darter, a former police officer and federal contractor with the Department of Justice; Kyle Sweet, an attorney who defended many of the largest insurance companies in the U.S.; and Stan Campbell, who spent over 25 years teaching self-defense strategies to police and citizens.
CCW Safe’s Basic Plan comes in two options, Protector and Defender. The Protector plan is discounted for active or retired law enforcement officials and military personnel. Otherwise, the policies are the same.
Coverage includes attorney fees, expert witnesses, private investigators, and trial expenses. It also provides 10% of bail bonds up to $500,000. Additionally, all plans include crime scene clean-up and post-incident counseling. You may also be compensated for work loss during the trial. Spouses and minor children are covered in the event of an in-home incident without additional cost.
There are three additional add-ons to the basic plan. If you would like your spouse added as an equal, then you would upgrade. If you would like to have 10% bail bond options up to one million dollars, then that would be another option. The third alternative is a one million dollar civil liability judgment coverage in the event you are found guilty in a civil liability case and must pay damages.
The Ultimate Plan is the Protector or Defender policy with all three add-on options, which are the additional spouse coverage, increased bail bond, and judgment coverage. The price is 20% less than if you were to enroll in them separately.
HR 218 Plan
If you carry a weapon under HR 218 (Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004), you are eligible for enrollment in the HR 218 Plan. This policy includes the Protector Plan, the one million dollar bail bond option, plus the one-million-dollar civil liability judgment coverage.
Constitutional Carry Plan
If you live in a constitutional carry (permit-less carry) state, you can enroll in the CCW Safe Constitutional Carry Plan. It covers a single member outside the home and spouse and minor children inside the house. There is no maximum on civil or criminal defense costs. The coverage includes up to $250,000 bail bond.
Home Defense Plan
The CCW Safe Home Defense Plan covers a primary member, spouse, and minor children against criminal acts that occur in their residence that provoked an act of self-defense. There is no maximum on civil or criminal defense costs for incidents that happen inside the home. The coverage includes up to $250,000 bail bond.
For you to be covered by this legal service, any incidents must have occurred in a legal situation. This is, you would not be engaging in illegal activities at the time of the self-defense incident. You must also be carrying your weapon legally, with a current permit and registration. Any illegality would preclude you from receiving legal assistance from CCW Safe.
CCW Safe does not extend coverage in the states of New Jersey and Washington. New York state coverage is limited to law enforcement officials. Coverage in the remaining states is limited to non-work-related incidents. If the self-defense involved a previous or current spouse or significant other, it is not an allowable incident. Finally, if the incident happened while the policyholder is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will not be able to claim coverage.
United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA)
The USCCA is another organization that provides legal defense assistance, or CCW insurance as some say, in addition to access to educational and training materials when you enroll in one of its plans. They were co-founded by Tim Schmidt and Tonnie Schmidt. Together they formed Concealed Carry Magazine, and from that was born the USCCA.
Membership Options and Benefits
All USCCA membership levels come with a subscription of the aforementioned Concealed Carry Magazine as well as access to the Reciprocity Map and Gun Laws section that allows you to check to see where your concealed carry permit is valid.
Members also have Nationwide USCCA Certified Instructor Network Access for in-person training and Member-Only Online Video Library for online learning. Spouses receive a discount when added to any plan. Members also receive deals on USCCA training opportunities and gear.
When it comes to legal support, all members have access to 24-hour/365-day to the Critical Response Team in the event of a self-defense incident. You’ll be able to choose your criminal defense attorney if it comes to that. Your policy covers the use of all legal weapons, not just firearms.
If you enroll at the Gold Membership level, you will have civil defense and damages protection up to $500,000. You’ll also be eligible for criminal defense, attorney retainer, and bail bond funding up to $100,000.
The platinum membership level provides you will receive up to $1,000,000 in civil defense and damages protection and up to $150,000 for criminal defense, bail bond funding, and attorney retainers.
The highest level, the elite membership, ensures that you have up to $2,000,000 towards civil defense and damages protection and up to $250,000 in the event of criminal defense, bail bond funding, and attorney retainers.
It probably goes without saying, but if a bodily injury or property damage occurs as a result of a criminal act by a member, excluding self-defense, there is no coverage. Neither is there any legal defense coverage if the self-defense incident occurs in the course of employment. If anyone other than a member, including family members, uses a weapon in self-defense, then the coverage does not extend to that person. Any incident as the result of civil or foreign war or from warlike actions by military or government forces is not covered. The unexplained disappearance of the weapon can also void any coverage.
CCW Safe Versus USCCA Comparison Chart
Is CCW Insurance Worth It?
You have to decide for yourself whether CCW insurance plans are worth it, and whether CCW Safe or USCCA legal coverage will provide the best coverage for your personal defense needs. The CCW Safe Defender plan is a few dollars less expensive than the USCCA Gold Membership but lacks the educational and training components. Either way, it may be in your best interest to enroll in a plan to protect yourself in the event you need to protect yourself in your own home.