does owning a firearm affect your homeowners insurance policy?

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A home without safety features may have higher rates. And a homeowner with an aggressive dog may be denied coverage altogether. But how does owning a firearm impact home insurance?

firearms and homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance may cover firearms much like other personal belongings. But because firearms are generally valuable, transportable, and small, they're often subject to policy limits. On a standard homeowners policy, the limit for firearms is usually around $2,000 and only includes theft as a loss. If you're a collector of firearm gear, its value could surpass that coverage limit.

Firearms and liability insurance

Provided it's not a criminal act, policyholders may be covered for gun-related injuries or deaths sustained on their property. It's important to point out, however, that the way criminal acts are defined can vary by state. For instance, depending on your locale, if you're intoxicated during the gun-handling incident, you may face criminal charges and not be covered by liability insurance in your homeowners policy.

If the discharged weapon was an act of self-defense or defense of property, things can get more complex. That's because the question of criminal or intentional damage will likely be invoked, as well as how state law defines "reasonable force" (which, of course, varies state to state). Once again, the insured's state of mind at the time of the incident, and whether or not the act was criminal or negligible, are critical to the insurance claim's outcome.

The bottom line — all gun owners should exercise stringent safety measures to prevent firearm accidents. Experts recommend storing firearms in locked cabinets or safes, especially when children are present. But more on gun safety later.

Umbrella insurance for your liability

As mentioned before, even using your firearm out of self-defense could mean complicated and hefty legal ramifications. Since a standard homeowners policy has a liability limit of $100,000, you may want to look into a personal umbrella policy for added financial protection. Umbrella insurance can not only provide that extra layer of liability coverage for guns, but also any other incident for which you may be found liable.

Home insurance riders for firearms

An insurance rider is a safety net for your most valuable possessions. So if you own an extensive collection of firearms that exceed your homeowners coverage limits, your insurance rider could kick in to offer an extra layer of protection if they're ever stolen or damaged.

does owning a firearm increase my homeowners insurance rate?

Many home insurance companies (like Esurance) don't increase premiums for gun ownership. In fact, they may not even require homeowners to disclose whether they own a firearm or plan on owning one in the future. The only way coverage would increase is if you select the aforementioned insurance rider for your collection.

Remember, homeowners premiums are determined in part by evaluating the risk of insuring your property. That includes determining the replacement cost of the home and personal belongings, in addition to incurred expenses if you're held responsible for an accident or injury.

Other home insurance companies (that aren't Esurance) may feel that having a firearm in the home is too much of a risk. Rates may be adjusted accordingly, or your insurer could decide not to extend coverage. For this reason, it's good measure to shop around for homeowners insurance and ask if gun ownership will impact policy rates or insurability.

If you're a policyholder at Esurance, feel free to give us a ring at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262), where our licensed agents are available at these times to answer any of your questions or concerns.

firearm safety at home

Gun ownership can be a sensitive topic. But one thing we can all agree on is the importance of firearm safety, especially in homes with children or places where children frequently visit.

There are a multitude of safety measures you can take to prevent firearm incidents at home. Here are several tips to get you started:

  • It's not enough to store your weapons in a locked safe, vault, or cabinet. It's also imperative that you restrict access to the lock — regardless of whether everyone in the home is skilled at handling guns.
  • Lock up your ammunition separately from your firearms to prevent unauthorized persons from loading them.
  • Each time a firearm is removed from storage, always point it in a safe direction and make sure it isn't loaded.
  • Implement gun-locking technology so that firearms are inoperable when not in use. This, of course, should not replace secure storage.
  • Understand how your firearms operate. Read the instruction manuals for each, know how to open and close the action, and how to properly remove ammo from the magazine.
  • Educate both family members and visitors — everyone in your home should know that firearms are in the house. Children should be regularly reminded that if they come across a firearm — no matter where they are — they should find an adult immediately and never touch or play with it.

get affordable homeowners coverage for your belongings and much more from esurance

Esurance values your safety above all else. We love it so much, in fact, that we extend a home safety features discount to policyholders who outfit their homes with security devices — including smoke alarms, CO detectors, water safety systems, and burglar alarms.

Plus, we offer a ton of other unique cash-saving perks to help keep extra green in your wallet, and a wide spectrum of customizable coverage options that safeguard your home, personal belongings, and your liability. Get your free homeowners insurance quote today, and find out why Esurance is the smart choice for home protection.

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