Best Concealed Carry Insurance Comparison [2019]

In this litigious, politically-correct society that we live in, a person can be sued for just about any frivolous reason. It is important that we think our decision to carry a concealed weapon through very thoroughly, as we have all heard the stories about how a law-abiding gun owner used his gun to defend his family but was arrested and sentenced. One thing we can do to help protect ourselves in the event that we have to shoot in self-defense involves the possibility of obtaining concealed carry insurance. Let me define what I mean by “self-defense insurance” – I am simply talking about signing up with a company or organization that covers you legally in case you have to shoot someone in self-defense and helps with your expenses. There are other services these groups provide, but that one is the focal point of their efforts.

I Just Shot Someone… Now What?!?

We have all read or heard about the person who has to pull his or her gun to defend themselves or their loved ones only to be arrested, taken to jail and then court. They are treated like the perpetrator, not the victim and must go overboard to prove their innocence. And, to add insult to injury, after it’s all said and done, it may take months to get their gun back from when the police seized it as evidence. There have been some cases I’ve read about where the gun is never returned.

You Will Need Help With…

After a justified shooting, here are some areas that will probably crop up that you must be prepared to deal with. The advantage of being a member of one of these organizations is that you would know the answers to these questions and have resources coming to aid as soon as you call them for help…

  1. Before The Police Arrive – what do you do in the immediate aftermath, right after a shooting? Do you call the police and/or 911? What about your gun? Holster it or not?
  2. When The Police Arrive – How will they know that you’re the “good guy”? Do you tell them everything that happened? What if they arrest you?
  3. At The Police Station – What if they book you and put you in a cell? What information do you divulge? Suppose they arrest you and the next step is court…what about bail? How do you get your gun back that they’ve taken as evidence?
  4. At The Preliminary Hearing – Should your lawyer be present for this formality? How do you plead?
  5. (If It Goes That Far), At The Hearing – Hopefully by now things have been straightened out but what happens if that’s not the case? Is your lawyer “up” on self-defense laws and tactics?

There is a lot more to a self-defense shooting than you might imagine. The legal waters that you must navigate are murky and sometimes dangerous, if you are not prepared. That’s where these organizations come in – they are there to help you.

Legal Expenses

Even if you are acquitted and released, you will still have many thousands of dollars of legal fees after a (most probably) length trial. Here’s where these types of organizations can help you. They will, in varying degrees, help with your legal defense and expenses (the groups will help with expenses to varying degrees). Some offer other services such as help with training and equipment selection. All CCW self-defense companies are not created equally, however…some are better than others at protecting you.

Read The Fine Print

As I was told by noted international firearms trainer/expert witness/gun writer Massad Ayoob when I asked him how he recommends students look for this type of insurance, here’s his reply:

Massad Ayoob
Massad Ayoob

“Basically, I tell my students to read the fine print. I would avoid any plan that says “We’ll pay after you’ve been acquitted,” since you may need six figures up-front for your attorney to get acquitted in the first place. I would avoid any policy that says it won’t pay if you’re convicted of any crime. (A 15-round magazine that was legal in New Jersey last month is as of now a felony there, and I’m sure a lot of law-abiding gun owners haven’t got the word.) At least one firm says zero alcohol tolerance, and if you’ve had one drink with dinner and need to defend yourself in the restaurant parking lot, they have no obligation to assist you.”

So…where do we start?

Let’s look at these five organizations and do a little comparing of services. We’ll look at costs and coverage, and any other pertinent information that might help you decide whether to join one of these or not. At least you’ll get a basic understanding of how each group works.

Here are five of the top national organizations that offer CCW insurance:

  • United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA)
  • Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (ACLDN)
  • U.S. Law Shield
  • NRA Carry Guard
  • CCW Safe

It’s hard to make a chart with categories that show how each group covers events and costs, so I’ll just list the major points. If you want more detailed information, please visit the groups’ websites. Also, as Mas Ayoob states above, read the fine print. There are differences between the groups’ coverages.

USCCA

USCCA Logo

The USCCA is an organization that is probably the largest of its type in the country with about 285,000 paying members. It may be perhaps the most recognizable, due to its extensive advertising campaign and its endorsement by some pretty famous people. Here’s what they charge and what you get:
Membership levels and costs include:

Gold: $22/month or $247/year
Platinum: $30/month or $347/year – according to the USCCA, this is the most popular option
Elite: $47/month or $497/year

Here are more services that come with your membership:

Education

CCW Reciprocity Map With Permit Expiration Reminder
Member-Only USCCA App Features
CCW Alerts When Crossing State Lines
“Find an Attorney” Map
Quick Access To Attorney Contact Info
Weekly updates on news, changing laws, and gear reviews
10 Lifesaving Checklists
Digital Access to 15 Lifesaving Guides & eBooks

Training

Gold Level:
Weekly Training Drills
Live Training Broadcasts With Industry Experts (3 Times per Year)
Access to Nationwide USCCA Certified Instructor Network
Member-Only Online Video Library:
Proving Ground Scenario-Based Training Series (Over 30 Videos)

Platinum Level:
Same As Above But Add To The Video Library:
A Situational Awareness video

Elite Level:
Same As Platinum But Add To The Video Library:
When To Use Deadly Force Video
10+ Hours in eLearning Training Systems ($344 Value)
Concealed Carry & Home Defense Fundamentals
Emergency First Aid Fundamentals

Notice the comprehensive services they provide. You and I may not even consider that we might need money up front for bail – they provide it. They even provide a per diem reimbursement for the time you spend in court.

Here is a summary, from their website…

All three levels of membership include:
Up To $250,000 Civil Suit Defense And Damage Protection
Up To $50,000 / $500,000 Criminal Defense Protection And Attorney Retainer
24/7/365 Access To The USCCA Critical Response Team
No Annual Limits – Benefits By Occurrence
Up-Front Bail Bond Funding
Members-Only Deals And Discounts
Local Attorney Coordination
Firearm Theft Liability Coverage
Wage Compensation While In Court
Complete Subscription To Concealed Carry Magazine Included
100% Up-Front Coverage (No Deductible. No Reimbursement.)
Covers Use Of All Legal Weapons
Attorney Counseling by USCCA Legal Advisory Board
Expert Witness Coordination
Interrogation And Grand Jury Protection
Members-Only Online Video Library And Article Vault

Is The USCCA Worth It?

Does the USCCA deliver on its promises to help you in the event of a defensive shooting? Is it really on the up & up? Well, according to the Better Business Bureau they have an “A+” rating, so they’re doing something right, to be sure.

The USCCA has some strong points: they aren’t just about legal protection but put a strong focus on training and related gun-owner skills. They also help you know the specific gun laws of your state. They will cover your up-front costs and will cover you for any type of legal weapon, not just firearms.

Testimonials abound, with several on their website but I like to bypass what is obviously going to be good news and try to dig a little deeper into forums, unsolicited reviews, etc. Try as I might, I found very few negative comments about the USCCA – most of the folks who are members are seemingly happy with their situation. I only found 2 remotely-negative comments on the BBB site, and those had to do with not receiving emails after a move and a membership issue. It seems that the USCCA is for real and has the membership to prove it.

Additional Discussions

Reddit Thread
CalGuns Thread
USACarry Thread on NRA vs USSCA

ACLDN

ACLDN Logo
Our second organization, the ACLDN, is similar in some ways to the USCCA while doing some things differently. In terms of cost/benefits, there is only one level. Members pay $135 for their first year’s membership and $95 per year after the first year. What do you get for your premium fee? First, you get $25,000 for bail expenses. Immediately after that, another $25,000 is forwarded to the members’ attorney to get the ball rolling legally. Then, to quote their website: “In addition, if the member is charged with a crime or sued in civil court, the Network provides additional funding for a vigorous defense of the member’s justifiable self-defense actions. Additional defense funding is available for appeals where there are appealable issues, and retrials, as well.”

ACLDN CCW insurance Perks

This organizations receives its funding from four sources: Dues Allocation, Corporate Donations, Bequests and Personal Donations. They are not as specific as to exact amounts they will pay out but they seem to be well-respected in the gun community.

What Do You Get?

When you sign up with the ACLDN, you will receive access to an online monthly publication, a 235-page book that covers various aspects of self-defense and an 8-DVD educational set from legal professionals and instructors. The book and DVD cover, among other things

  1. What the legal parameters are in relationship to a defensive shooting;
  2. How to deal with your personal trauma after having to use lethal force;
  3. Legal concerns that most probably will arise as you navigate the legal waters

The monetary pay-outs are not quite on a par with those of the USCCA, but the ACLDN excels at training and delivers a lot of helpful information concerning your rights in relationship to a justified shooting.

U.S. & Texas Law Shield Organization

USLawShield Logo

Our third group,The U.S. & Texas Law Shield organization was founded in 2009. Premium fees for a single member are $10.95 per month or $131.40 per year, with two adults covered at $22.90 per month or $240 per year. There is a one-time $19.95 fee for each adult covered. Here’s an overview from their website of what’s covered…

U.S. Law Shield Members Receive:

  • 24/7 access to attorney-answered hotline;
  • Member perks including offers and discounts on classes, firearms, optics and more;
  • Zero attorney’s fees for covered events;
  • No caps or deductibles;
  • Legal coverage for both Criminal and Civil proceedings;
  • Seminars with lawyers and self-defense instructors

There are add-ons that you can buy in addition to the coverages above – they include gunowner ID Theft for $6.95/month or $83.40/year and minor children coverage for $2.00/month or $24.00/year.

One major difference between this organization and others is that you are covered only in your own state unless you buy multi-state protection:

Multi-State Protection
For $2.95 per month or $35.40 per year, members can receive the legal benefits that they are accorded in their home state while traveling in other states plus Washington, D.C. with the Multi-State Protection Plan.

Interesting Facts

I found some interesting facts about the U.S. Law Shield’s coverage:

  • Like some others, any legal weapon is covered, not just guns;
  • You are covered if you are involved in an out-of-state shooting only if you’ve purchased the multi-state plan;
  • There is no limit to the number of hours they’ll pay a lawyer for your defense;
  • The program covers accidental discharges. I think that’s a great idea.
  • You don’t have to shoot someone to be covered. In some states, just showing a weapon in order to cause a bad guy to back off is a crime. With this program, that would be covered. Another great idea!

Is The Shield Worth It?

It seems like a good plan, but there is some fine print. The conditions vary by state; in my state, you may be refused coverage if:

  • You are not in “legal possession” of the weapon. This definition varies by state;
  • You are not in an area where guns may be legally carried (movie theater gun-free zone?)
  • You are using your gun in your job, if being armed is part of your job. (Security guard, police, etc.)
  • You use a gun in a shooting of a current or former family member (or dating relationship).

So, if you are OK with the limitations, check out the U.S. Law Shield.

Additional Discussions

Reddit Thread 1
Reddit Thread 2

NRA Carry Guard

NRA Carry Guard Logo

The fourth group is the NRA Carry Guard. The NRA is nothing if not thorough in its involvement with firearms and related activities. In 2017, they launched their version of concealed carry/self-defense resources, but like so many things they do, it encompasses more than just concealed carry insurance. When you go to their website, you are inundated with graphics and information about training options, videos, resources of all types…and a free seven-page .PDF brochure that you can download called “The Aftermath” that tells you what to expect after a self-defense shooting, from the time the police arrive to what happens to your gun to what happens in court. It’s definitely worth a look.

Something New – Lockton Affinity

Carry Guard has a new insurance company that will cover you in the event of a self-defense shooting. It is Lockton Affinity, and it offers three levels:

Gold Plus $43.74/month, $508.72/year
$1,500,000, Insurance Protection
$1,500,000, Civil Protection
$250,000 Criminal Defense

Gold $29.61/month, $341.52/year
$1,000,000, Insurance Protection
$1,000,000, Civil Protection
$150,000 Criminal Defense

Silver $22.89/month, $257.92/year
$500,000 Insurance Protection
$500,000 Civil Protection
$100,000 Criminal Defense

Bronze $16.17/month, $174.33/year
$250,000 Insurance Protection
$250,000 Civil Protection
$50,000 Criminal Defense

What will those fees buy you? Here’s a screenshot of benefits…

NRA Carry Guard Concealed Carry Insurance Perks

There are a few differences between Carry Guard insurance and some others … your spouse is covered at no additional charge, for example. The insurance component is new for Carry Guard, as before it was largely not available. N.R.A. Carry Guard has always been a leader in training and related resources, and now they’ve added actual coverage for members.

Training, Etc.

Carry Guard has many training resources including videos and where to go to attend live training classes. They are interested in developing leaders and have information about firearms instructors (and how to be an instructor). News items concerning such topics as pepper spray, calibers, reholstering, etc. are to found here as well. The information offered is well worth a look. The NRA’s approach is, first, how to avoid a deadly situation and secondly, what to do if you are involved in one – that’s where the training comes in.
If you are an NRA member, you are probably swamped with offers from them – I know I get a lot – but this is one service they provide that you might want to check out.

Additional Discussions

USACarry Thread on NRA vs USSCA
Reddit Thread

CCW Safe

CCWSafe Logo

Our final organization, CCW Safe offers members protection needed in the event of a legal self-defense shooting incident. Their website is colorful, graphics-oriented and informative. Here, in a nutshell, are their levels of coverage (for state CCW permit holders):

Ultimate, starting at $499 per year – here is what it covers, and doesn’t cover:
access to a 24-hour emergency hotline
attorney fees
investigators fees
Experts (witnesses, I assume)
Appeals and Firearm Replacement during trial
Up to $350 a day work loss while in criminal or civil trial
up to 40 sessions (up to $6k) for a licensed counselor
up to $3k for crime scene clean-up home

The Ultimate Plan is an annual membership and coverage is good for one year with automatic renewal.

Restrictions

The Ultimate Plan doesn’t cover:

  • force used against other family members
  • force used against people who are in your house with permission
  • any force that is not in self defense
  • restrictions listed in their Terms of Service

    Some of the restrictions are notable – what if a “chemically-altered” (read: high) distant family relative drives to your town, looks you up and demands the “money you owe me” at knife-point? You barely recognize him but your life is in danger – if you shoot him this group will not cover you according to their Restrictions. Another point…even if he is not related, if you let him into your house, you’re not covered. Again, read the fine print and the Terms of Service.

    Defender, starting at $179 per year, includes:
    access to a 24-hour emergency hotline
    critical response team on site
    $500,000 bail coverage
    vetting of Attorneys by National Trial Counsel
    unlimited attorney fees covered up front
    unlimited investigators covered up front
    unlimited expert witnesses covered up front
    all trial costs covered up front
    firearm replacement during trial
    up to $250 a day work loss while in criminal or civil trial
    up to 10 sessions (up to $4k) for a licensed counselor
    up to $3,000 for crime scene clean-up home
    appeals and expungement covered

    DEFENDER ADD ONS AVAILABLE:
    You can add your spouse for $100, $1,000,000 bail coverage for $50, and $1,000,000 dedicated civil liability for $220

    Protector, starting at $149 per year for active or retired law enforcement or military with a CCW permit. The coverage is identical to that at the Defender level with one change: spouse and children under 18 are covered in your home only.

    Here’s its breakdown:

    access to a 24-hour emergency hotline
    critical response team on site
    $500,000 bail coverage
    vetting of Attorneys by National Trial Counsel
    unlimited attorney fees covered up front
    unlimited investigators covered up front
    unlimited expert witnesses covered up front
    all trial costs covered up front
    firearm replacement during trial
    up to $250 a day work loss while in criminal or civil trial
    up to 10 sessions (up to $4k) for a licensed counselor
    up to $3,000 for crime scene clean-up home
    appeals and expungement covered

    PROTECTOR ADD ONS AVAILABLE:
    You can add your spouse for $100, $1,000,000 bail coverage for $50, and $1,000,000 dedicated civil liability for $220.

    These Plans Are For Permit Holders. I Don’t Have A Permit-Can I Be Covered?

    If your state doesn’t issue permits but allows you to carry in a “Constitutional Carry” state, you can still get coverage. Here’s what you get with the Constitutional Carry Plan:

    access to a 24-hour emergency hotline;
    attorney fees;
    investigators fees;
    experts;
    appeals and Firearm Replacement during trial;
    up to $250 a day work loss while in criminal or civil trial;
    up to 10 sessions (up to $4k) for a licensed counselor;
    up to $3k for crime scene clean-up home if needed

    What’s Not Covered?
    With the Constitutional Carry Plan, the following is not covered:

    force used against other family members;
    force used against people who are in your house with permission or invite;
    any force that is not in self defense;
    coverage outside of the resident state;
    travel by vehicle outside the resident state;
    restrictions listed in Terms of Service

    The Home Defense Plan

    CCWSafe Home Defense Insurance Plan

    There is also a Home Defense Plan, with benefits that cover you in the event of a shooting during a burglary, deadly assault, robbery or home invasion. It includes:

    access to a 24-hour emergency hotline
    attorney fees
    investigators fees
    experts
    up to $250 a day work loss while in criminal or civil trial
    up to 10 sessions (up to $4k) for a licensed counselor
    up to $3k for crime scene clean-up home if needed

    It will not cover:
    force used against other family members
    force used against people who are in your house with permission or invite
    any force that is not in self defense
    restrictions listed in Terms of Service

    So, you can be covered in your home even if you don’t have a state-issued permit. This is a good idea, as some plans can be more limited in their coverage when you are in your home. Notice it covers events such as robbery and burglary – if you feel your life is in danger regardless of the reason, the plan should cover you. Obviously, if you use deadly force against a person who is just in your home but doesn’t pose a threat, you might be standing on some thin ice. Check with your local law enforcement agency to clarify your rights.

    Other “Restrictions of Service” Include, But Are Not Limited To:
    accidental discharge;
    if you are judgement-impaired via use of a “substance that alters judgement”;
    domestic violence;
    invalid permit;
    on-duty incident coverage – peace officers, etc.

    And, one of the more interesting ones…

    Church security team – the only plan that covers a specified volunteer church security team member is the Ultimate Plan. Other plans do not cover this situation. So, can you be covered if you carry in church and have to use your gun but are not on a security team? Yes – there is one way. The way I read it is that if you are carrying a concealed gun and are in church but are not officially a member of a security team and you have to use it, you are covered if you have any of their coverage plans. If you’re going to be a designated member of a volunteer church security team, in order to be covered you must upgrade to the Ultimate Plan. Another point to consider is that it states in the Terms & Conditions that this is a “Services Agreement”, not insurance, so you should still be able to draw on your own insurance provider’s coverage.

    Additional Discussions

    Forum Thread
    Reddit Thread

    Conclusions

    So you see, there are several organizations out there who want to protect you in the event of a self-defense shooting…it’s just that they vary in their philosophies and coverages. I would want to know that, in the event of a shooting, I would have every available resource at my side that my organization offers and that they would basically “drop everything” and get there to help me as soon as I call them.
    I will not recommend one of these groups over another – that’s for you to decide – but we will look at one of them in more detail in a future article. If you have any questions about any of these groups, look at their website and call them – they will be happy to help you. With our society in the state that it’s in today, maybe a call to one of these groups may not be a bad idea!

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    Mike
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    Mike

    If these are considered “Legal Defense Services” can one belong to more than one and receive services from multiple companies at the time of need? This would be in direct opposition to insurance companies which do not allow multiple company payouts. If one can use multiple, I would suggest that is VERY beneficial – receiving multiple payouts, but more importantly, creating a “specialized” service.

    Sniper Country Team
    Member

    Very interesting question. Unfortunately we don’t have an answer for you at the moment. When we know more we’ll update this part.