If you own one or more firearms, you may worry whether they are adequately insured in the event of a loss. Standard home insurance policies generally cover guns as personal property. But depending on the number and value of the firearms you own, the limit on the policy may provide less coverage than what the guns are worth. Another factor to consider is that your policy may only cover the loss of a firearm by theft, leaving it uninsured against other types of losses. Therefore, you need to know what additional options are available for insuring your personal firearms.
One option for getting more coverage for firearms you own is to purchase a rider—an add-on provision or endorsement to your current home insurance policy. While not all home insurance companies offer the option to purchase a rider for firearms, many do.
Besides providing more coverage for firearms, a rider may cover damage to or the loss of a firearm due to reasons other than theft. A home insurance rider comes at additional cost, but you'll get higher coverage limits for your firearms and insure them against more risks, including fire damage.
Your insurance company will request a description as well as the serial number and value of each of the firearms you want to insure. Whether you own a single handgun, hunting rifles, or an extensive gun collection, your insurance company will want a list. Depending on the types of firearms you own, you can get a professional gun appraisal or check the most recent edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values for value information.
If you can't get a rider, there are insurance companies that offer separate, specialized policies to cover guns. Since the coverage is specific to firearms, you usually have to buy a policy through a gun group or organization.
Regardless of whether you buy separate firearms insurance or choose another option, consider insuring your firearms based on replacement value rather than actual cash value. That way, the insurer won't deduct for depreciation—a plus if you lose an antique gun or a rare or discontinued weapon that has appreciated in value.
Since owning a gun involves risk and potential liability issues, consider purchasing more liability insurance than the amount your standard home insurance policy offers, particularly if you have a lot to lose. A personal umbrella policy can give you excess coverage if you are ever sued for negligence or wrongful death related to a gun incident. The additional liability coverage will also pay for your legal defense—up to the policy limit—if someone files a lawsuit against you. However, make certain that your policy doesn't include exclusions related to firearms.
When determining how much extra coverage to buy, you can base the amount on the total of your net assets. If the liability coverage limit stated in your standard home insurance policy is less than your total assets, the excess coverage an umbrella policy offers will pay after your standard policy pays out up to the stated limits.