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Guns in the home: How insurance works

Your insurer may not ask if you have firearms in your house, but it's a good idea to bring it up yourself.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 4, 2013 5:20PM

This post comes from Mark Chalon Smith at partner site logoWhile gun control legislation may remain a divisive issue with uncertain outcomes, there are guidelines pertaining to firearms when it comes to homeowners insurance.


Revolver in open dresser drawer (© David McGlynn/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images)Most standard homeowners policies cover rifles and pistols if they're stolen or damaged in a fire, but usually up to a maximum of $2,500, according to Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California. If you have a large collection of guns or ones that are particularly valuable -- perhaps a group of antique side arms -- then you may have to buy a policy rider to ensure they'll be replaced or that you'll be reimbursed, he says.


It's much the same process as with other big-money items, such as jewelry and fine art, where you discuss the pieces with an agent and come to a reasonable coverage figure.


Safety always an issue for gun insurance

To keep premiums for the standard policy from soaring, the owner may have to show that the rifles and pistols are properly secured in locked gun cases, have trigger locks, and, of course, are out of the reach of children, says Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute.


"It's all about proving to an insurer just how responsible you are when it comes to firearms. It's clear that insurers are more likely to look favorably on the gun owner if they take special precautions to store the weapon and have a gun lock on the gun," Moraga says.


Moraga adds that insurers usually don't bring up firearms when writing a policy. But it's a good idea to tell them upfront if you have any.

"Although insurers may not specifically ask about weapons on their policy questionnaire, because of the higher liability risk of a gun, homeowners should make sure to let their agent or insurance company know," he says. "If an insurer does not know that a homeowner owns a gun and the homeowner files a later claim, the claim may be denied."


What happens if you accidentally shoot someone or yourself while in the home? The Insurance Information Institute says your standard policy will cover some or all of the damages, including medical bills, property damage and liability claims, depending on the amount of coverage you have.


But the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants says on its 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website that you may need to buy additional coverage -- such as "sporting firearm insurance," "collector's firearm insurance" or "gun club liability insurance" -- to guarantee you're fully protected.


More on and MSN Money:

Jan 7, 2013 5:35PM

O.K. people get you head out of the hole in the ground ( not where it really is) You people in the news business don't know you butt form a rat hole. You better get your facts straight before you write stories, and oh yea send that damn BRIT back to england were he belongs and keep his nose out of our way of life. if its so damn bad here why is it everyone in the world wants to come here,  You better wake up or they will turn you off and then your ratings will hit bottom.


Jan 7, 2013 5:30PM
I have been the claims industry for over 20 years and think we should make gun owners STRICTLY LIABLE for their weapons.  The owner could be sued by anyone harmed physically or economically by their gun.  That is not to say you are liable but the burden of proof falls to the owner that they did everything they could to prevent the act.  Your gun gets stolen, you have to show it was safely secured and reported to police.  You sell your gun, better run the transaction through NICS and document the hell out of who it went to.  Owners would buy special policies but no matter what, the first $500 or $1000 comes from the owner.  If you don't have coverage or the gun isn't on your policy, you are liable for the entire exposure.  This is exactly how many states handle dog bite claims.  You own a pit bull, better have coverage.  Same goes for Glock 9mm. 
Jan 7, 2013 5:22PM

MSN TEAM-must know what this is? MPTC-LE 200/201,CJP.



1. Go to Goodwill; buy a pair of size 14-16 boots.
2. Place them on your front porch along with a copy of “Guns and Ammo” magazine.
3. Put four giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazine.
4. Leave a note of the door that reads:

Me and Marcel, Donny Ray and Earl went to get more beer and ammo. Be back in an hour. Don’t mess with the Pitt Bulls. They got the mailman this morning and messed him up pretty bad.
I don’t think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of ‘em in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back.

Jan 7, 2013 4:59PM

Comment #207


I'm thinking a bunch of suits in an insurance company board room are laying new eggs to hatch in the gun control coup. Bottom line is always the number one concern with big business. So who owns the large insurance companies? Would that be any of the big political supporters we hear about? maybe yes !?!? Why would MSN put up a story like this? Hmmm,,, Bill Gates is one of the big players that might fall into that big buck group of political supporters. Does he own any insurance company stock? This story is the tip of the iceberg. Do others see it coming, I do, I see insurance on owners who own guns. Maybe not the gun itself, but the owners, The larger the gun the more you pay. Bigger the clip the more you pay. Gun control may never happen, because WE THE PEOPLE would not allow it to happen. But people control via money is in the works. Training with a fee, lic fee for owners, testing with more fees, retesting every so often with more fees, insurance and fines for no insurance, gun safety inspection with a fee, impound fees and court costs. Fees and fines, insurance, is all coming. I may be wrong about this, and I hope I am, BUT what are the other choices? Will the Constitution be changed and take our rights away. NO ONE wants to go there. Gun control will not happen, but people control who own guns will. HAS ALREADY HAPPEN...

Jan 7, 2013 4:56PM
I have worked in law enforcement and criminal justice my whole life.  In fact today I testified in court against the release of a mentally ill man.  I have spent decades in and out of uniform and I can say "No matter what I would rather lose my home or my career than MY LIFE or A LOVED ONE!"
SECOND AMENDMENT for all law abiding citizens,
 I will stay out of your uterus. You stay out of my gun safe.

Jan 7, 2013 4:55PM
Yes, I have a Security System in my home, a handgun AND A BIG DOG that WILL protect me!
Jan 7, 2013 4:54PM

Wow, there are a lot of ****es posting here. The article isn't anti-gun, it's talking about insurance coverage you freaking nimrods! I'm glad I read it because I've got a substantial collection and not sure if I have enough coverage. I'm law-abiding and come from a state that requires registration, so I'm not paranoid about "the Gub'ment take'n ma guns away". Grow up you anti-government, chicken-little, small-minded cretins...the one's who want to take our guns away are a small percentage of the population, and will not succeed. What is succeeding is fear of losing your guns so that you all go out and buy, buy, buy. By doing this, you drive up the prices, cause shortages, and regurgitate misinformation. The best selling tool of the gun and ammo manufactures is to get you dimwits all worked up that somebody's going to take your precious little bang-bang. . Mission accomplished.


All I ask is if you have one, keep it in a safe place so it doesn't fall into the hands of a psychopath.

Jan 7, 2013 4:52PM

Is there any insurance I can buy that will protect me from the government? 

Jan 7, 2013 4:45PM
I suspect this is just another way to track gun ownership. Sorry...none of your business.
Jan 7, 2013 4:41PM
The NRA offers gun insurance very reasonably. Check stats on how much more likely you are to be a victim of violent crime in London than in NYC since Britain banned gun ownership. Last time I checked on Google it was 6 times more dangerous walking down Piccadilly Circus than 42nd Street.
Jan 7, 2013 4:26PM

A gun in the home is the BEST  insurance to protect yourself,your life and your family!

In fact guns are sure a great safety device that police use them and an anti gun newspaper hire armed guards to protect its offices and workers!

A home without a gun is just waiting to be robbed and with over crowded prison letting crimminals free the odds are great your about to be a victim.

Guns buy one,take the classes and refuse to be a victim to anyone

The House Democrats are submitting a bill in the next few days to Congress to ban ANY magazine over 10 rounds in capacity. We must act now to stop this erosion of our 2nd Amendment rights!



This link will take you to a website where you can quickly and easily email your Senators, Congressmen and the President:

Thank You!
Jan 7, 2013 4:23PM
guns dont kill people, so whats the big deal?
MORE Public information is what they want about ALL your guns.

Then you get ratted out like that idiot NY Journal did and makes public
your address, phone number, etc.... This makes a criminals job sooo much easier.

Jan 7, 2013 4:18PM
none of their business if I have any in my house, wanna know, come see 4 yourself..... then we'll see how good your insurance is.....
Jan 7, 2013 4:11PM
Your gun(s) will not get destroyed in a fire if they are stored in a good safe (as mine are).
Jan 7, 2013 4:07PM
Marla Garber has it right. Guns have been around hundreds of years and everyone old enough around was told how to RESPECT firearms. Today kids sit in front of game consoles during the most educational parts of their lives to be raised and parents wonder why they have lost control of their children. We have to be a part of our children's lives and raise them. Not to say every generation doesn't have issues but at least my parents articulated themselves with non violent protest and music. Kids want to be heard and if they are ignored well....we see what can happen.

what we need is criminal control!  when  someone uses a gun to commit a crime ,and is found guilty ,give him 20 years just for using a gun,on top of what he would get normally. Even if he uses a toy gun.


To the homeowners of this Country:

I remember a slogan, over the entrance to the  Armory ,in the military, that went something like this.  About the m-14 we used." Be ye smaller then the smallest of men ,and afraid of the biggest of men, call on me ,and I shall equalize" Keep your gun info. private


People that have mental deficiencies should be helped when they are id'd,and you can't stop fanatics  from  doing terrible things ,but we must get serious about dealing with criminals..

Jan 7, 2013 4:06PM
The person who wrote this article has no idea what they are talking about, I have been an insurance agent for 30 years. Do your reasearch next time!!! 
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