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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:

Apr 8, 2013 11:32PM
Guns in the home: How insurance works- MSN Money : Try this site where you can comapre quotes from different companies:
Jan 15, 2013 8:05PM
ALL my guns were lost in a terrible boating accident. : - )
Jan 9, 2013 3:36PM

I can hear Pelosi now…. “You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get Gun Ownership Reform passed for the American people.”

Jan 9, 2013 5:14AM
I would have liked to have seen how the insurance company handled the claim of a guy with a serious gun safe. The tgieves tried to use a cutting torch to break into the safe, to bad for them the owner had a quantity of primers and powder in it. The whole room disintegrated.
Jan 9, 2013 5:11AM

My collection is insured to the max. $17,000 in guns is not to go without insurance.

Jan 8, 2013 1:58PM
What good is a gun lock in a remote house on a ranch in Wyoming?  We have to be able to grab the gun instantly for varmint control, putting down a sick animal or god forbid a robbery/home invasion situation.  The children here are taught from a very early age to handle waerpons.  My 12 year old grandson can field strip and clean anything from an old .22 to an AK.  We don't all live in NYC or Calif.
Jan 8, 2013 12:21PM

California Insurance Spokesman...???

Try talking about Normal States With Normal Americans...

California = The Land of Fruits and

Jan 8, 2013 11:18AM

I live in Oklahoma. Most insurance companies here will shy away from any fruitcake who does not own a gun.....

Jan 8, 2013 10:29AM
We are 'supposed' to take advice from the British on guns? Does the 2nd Amendment ring a bell? How about Revolutionary War(1)?
Jan 8, 2013 9:07AM
I have never been asked if there are guns in the home and if I need additional insurance. As far as giving over serial #'s for guns my agent told me I just need to have them if something should happen and I didn't need to turn them over to them. This article is the biggest load of crap trying to scare gun owners that don't know better to second guess having a gun in the home. For additional coverage I just needed to tell them how much I needed on my guns but they didn't need to know what I had.
Jan 8, 2013 7:21AM
keep all your guns in a fire proof safe.  keep one out to defend yourself end of problem
Jan 8, 2013 3:42AM
It's best if you dont tell anyone you have guns in the house. The less paperwork proving you have them, the less likely you are to have them taken away. If you didn't buy your gun in the past 10-15 years, chances are there isn't any record that you own it. Thus, less chance uncle sam will come looking for it later. Mum is the word.
Jan 8, 2013 2:45AM
I would put up a sign saying, 'This is a Gun free house!'
Make my Day Punk

Jan 7, 2013 9:18PM
Typical liberal BS.  I have less to worry about because I own guns than someone who does not.  I do not plan to shoot someone unless they are in my house, at that point they get what they deserve.  I don't demand that people who don't want weapons to own them, why do they demand that I don't own weapons?  
Jan 7, 2013 8:51PM

  My home defense gun stays in the drawer by my bed, loaded, one in the chamber and on safety. That gun was with me when I was away on business. When I returned home the entire house was torn to pieces. All the flat screen TV's gone, a hole cut in the back of my safe and 8 out of 11 guns stolen. My coin collection and wife's jewelry were also taken. All total about $40,000 gone.

  The insurance company reimbursed me with $2,000 for the guns, $200 for the jewelry and $200 for the coin collection(They only give face value for coins and currency. IF you can prove what you have). These were the items listed on page 38 of the policy. The insurance agent sold me a basic policy and did not include additional riders for the other items even when they were requested. He said "The basic policy will cover all your needs." (I know it was my fault for not reading the entire policy, but to put disclaimers on page 38 of 56). Why not use invisible ink for Pete's sake.

   They then gave me $150 to replace a $1800 safe. The safe was 9 years old and they said it was an item that depreciated over time. I told them that there are safes over 100 years old still doing their job, how do they deteriorate with age? They insisted $150 was enough to replace it.

  I am a member of the NRA and when you are a member they automatically issue a $2,000 policy.(All you have to do is complete the application and there is no additional cost.)

  The moral of my story is READ your entire policy and insist on riders if you do not have enough coverage. And do not use Progressive.



Jan 7, 2013 8:37PM
AR-15 firing rate is 45 rounds per minute.  Anyone that says anything other then that is using scare tactics to steal YOUR freedom.  I haven't heard anyone yet who is pro "gun control" who actually knows anything about what they are talking about.
Jan 7, 2013 8:10PM

  I have not been a member of the NRA since Charlton Heston made his comment about it being the Black and Brown people having guns that caused all the trouble for the White man to have and own guns, That being said here is my view on these videos.

  The host makes his view on guns being anti-gun from his own statement of being 'Conservative' and what he says (and is a total lie) about automatic weapons as the American public can only buy semi automatic weapons that fire on bullet for every pull of the trigger, and there are laws and fees for owning full automatic weapons that are Military weapons and paid for on a yearly basis, and are very strictly regulated by the ATFE, and his second lie is that people carry 100 round clips which there are only on clip made in the USA that hold 100 rounds and that is made for the Ruger 10/.22 semi automatic .22 long rifle, all other magazines made in the USA are limited at 30 rounds for the semi automatic Ruger Mini 14, or the ranch rifle or other semi automatic rifles that can use these clips, and all fire one bullet for every time the trigger is pulled, no  full automatic rifles, even if the appear to look like military issue weapons, automatic weapons are illegal to own with out permission from the ATFE agency after full background checks.

, and then the Congress woman as all of those who have the ear of the media says that we are one 'Culture' which implies a distinction between gun and non gun owning people in the USA, which is not true by any stretch of her or any one else' imagination, as We the People are a multitude of cultures and can not be labeled as one culture period, and each has it's own sense of values, as can be seen by the violence in the Muslim communities against their own with 'Honor Killings', the Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, and yes the White communities all over this country, and in each there are many more law abiding people than criminals, and as is said by one of these women here there will always be criminals and that being said these criminals will still have illegal guns while We the People will not be able to protect our families or selves from any and all crimes that will still happen, but with more of them happening to those who have no way to protect themselves and that includes those who want the 2nd Amendment abolished, who seem to think that the police and military will protect them from all harm. 

  The last woman who argues with one of the other women and raises her voice  to make her misinformed point also ake statements which are lies, and these same lies are what is causing the major problems for gun owners and the public who are non gun or anti-gun owner are being lied to and refused to educated themselves and believe what they are told even as it put's their families and themselves in harms way, it is unbelievable that some many higher educated people accept the lies, and still consider themselves educated at a higher level, and in reality have the intelligence of a grain of sand, so sad that they are so lazy as to not try to find the truth, nut then the Pied Pipers love dummies. 

Jan 7, 2013 8:05PM
I have a great idea let's just ban insurance companies, who, in collaboration with the Government are trying to number the guns and are infringing on the rights of the people. maybe it really is time for a constitutional convention to stop big brother! it is the systematic push to continue moving the United States toward a police state. liberty requires eternal vigilance!
Jan 7, 2013 8:03PM
I'm not going to lock my guns up. If you break in I want to get to them and start my defense. I'm armed and ready.
Jan 7, 2013 7:38PM
It's more than a 'smell of an anti gun viewpoint" it's a NOISOME STENCH!
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