Concealed Weapons Liability


I have a concealed handgun license and also own some rifles and shotguns for hunting. Will the liability insurance on my homeowners policy cover me if I shoot someone in self- defense or accidentally shoot someone while hunting?


Your concealed handgun license and hunting weapon ownership come with a lot of responsibility and risks, including the risk of shooting someone accidentally or intentionally while protecting yourself or your family.

Your homeowners policy provides liability insurance in case you are responsible for injuring someone or for damaging property belonging to others. If you are sued, the policy will pay the costs of hiring an attorney to defend you. If you are determined to be legally responsible for the injury or damage, the policy will pay the amount needed to settle the claim against you, subject to the limit of liability you purchased and shown on the information page of your policy.

However, the liability coverage on your homeowners policy comes with a number of exceptions (called "exclusions"). One exception precludes coverage for liability arising from an intentional act, such as shooting someone, even if the shooting is considered justified in the eyes of the law.

On the other hand, homeowners policies sold by many insurance companies contain an exception to the intentional acts exclusion. This exception says the exclusion does not apply to injury or damage resulting from "the use of reasonable force…to protect persons or property." You should read your policy or ask your agent to determine if this exception is found in your policy.

You should not necessarily rest easy if your policy contains the "reasonable force" exception, because what may be "reasonable" to you may not be "reasonable" to the insurance company or to a judge or jury should the matter end up in court.

You may want to consider purchasing a special insurance policy designed for concealed weapon licensees and gun owners. Several state and national organizations, including the NRA and USCCA, offer such policies.