Self-Defense Aftermath: Homeowner’s Insurance Might Not Be Enough

Self-Defense

A strange noise. Something awakens you in the middle of the night. There's an intruder in your home. You call out a warning. The intruder charges you. You're prepared to defend your family with the legal firearm you've practiced with and kept safely locked in your home just in case of this moment that you hoped would never come.


But if your act of self-defense causes injury or death, are you protected in the aftermath?


Many Homeowner's liability policies contain an "intentional injury exclusion," meaning that acts self-defense might not be covered. Therefore, the intruder and his/her family could legally sue you for damages and, whether they are able to prove wrongdoing or not, you could be on the hook for significant legal fees. Courts disagree on whether the "intentional injury exclusion" should apply to self-defense cases which makes it difficult to know whether or not your Homeowner's liability policy would cover you or not.


If you have firearm in the home for self-defense or if you use a concealed-carry permit to arm yourself for self-defense, consider purchasing an additional policy specific to self-defense situations to make sure that your legal fees don't attack your life savings.


There are several features to look for in a personal protection insurance policy.


1. Check your existing coverage. Your agent should be able to tell you what is covered and where you have gaps that a supplemental policy should fill.


2. Know your state laws. Illinois does NOT have a "Stand Your Ground Law" that protects individuals in self-defense scenarios from civil lawsuits. This means it would be wise to have a plan that covers the cost of potential law suits.


3. Consider the level of protection you need. Most providers have various levels of coverage that are more comprehensive the greater the investment. Depending upon whether you are concealed-carry or simply have a firearm in your home, you may determine that one level is most appropriate for your individual circumstances.

4. Look at extra features. Will the policy pay up front or reimburse? Will you have coverage if you choose your own attorney? Will your family members be covered if they use your firearm in a self-defense situation? These will influence the cost and help you personalize the coverage to meet your needs.


Firearm owners bear the burden of carefully and responsibly discharging their weapons. Even when all the rules are followed and a gun owner has done everything right, the financial repercussions of a lawsuit from an act of self-defense can be catastrophic. Having a supplemental policy is just smart.


Contact your Compass Insurance Partners agent to look at your options for this invaluable coverage.

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