No, this insurance won’t protect you from a bad guy inside your house. What it will do is protect you from the aftermath of a righteous defensive shooting. Imagine this: you’re at home alone, and someone breaks in. It’s dark, but you can see the outline of an individual with a gun. Fearing for your life, you fire on the aggressor and kill him. Later investigation shows that the person wasn’t actually armed, and now the local prosecutor is filing criminal charges against you. You may have been justified, and you may even win the court case, but how will you pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars it can cost to properly defend a criminal case?
Bill and Ben Hopkins may just have the answer. I ran into Bill at the Gun Blogger’s Rendezvous in Reno Nevada a few weeks ago. Bill and Ben run a blog called The Reasonable Nut, but they also sell insurance. Some time ago, Bill noticed that no matter how justified a self defense shooting was, the victims were still often subjected to criminal charges that had to be defended along with civil suits. Even if the victims successfully defended themselves from the criminal and civil trials, they were left financially crushed from the cost of mounting a legal defense. So, Bill went to Lloyds of London, a well known surplus lines carrier, to see if they could underwrite a policy protecting justified victims. The result is MMD Brokers LLC, a company that can issue insurance liability policies that cover up to $250,000 of expenses resulting from a justified self defense shooting when the policy holder is found “Not Guilty” or the case is dropped.
I asked Bill to write a shot bit about the policy to help answer the many questions that I had about the policy.
Engaging in an act of self defense will involve two separate and distinct legal processes – criminal procedures and civil actions. These are two different areas of law requiring specialization to the extent that most criminal lawyers will not take civil work and visa versa.
If you are involved in shooting another person, make no mistake, you may be arrested and your weapon will be confiscated. The time involved to establish your innocence will vary from a few hours to months or even years. A criminal lawyer should be retained as quickly as possible and this will involve legal fees and retainers. Your homeowners policy or umbrella policy will not respond to any of these expenses. You will be on your own. With a favorable result in your criminal defense, MMD’s insurance policy will reimburse this expense to the limit of our liability on the policy. (Note that this reimbursement will be twice or five times what the NRA policy will reimburse depending on the limit your choose.)
If you do injure or kill your adversary in an act of self defense you will likely be sued by some interested party. Even if your state has a castle doctrine, you will still be sued and will have to go through the legal process of defending this suit until it is dismissed in court. It is doubtful that your homeowners policy will respond to these suits due to the definition of occurrence in those policies, which includes the requirement that the occurrence be “accidental’, and also because of the intentional acts exclusion. Once again, an insurance policy from MMD will respond unequivocally in defense and payment of these suits up to our limit of liability.
We hear many excuses as to why this policy is not necessary.
“The chances of this happening are so remote that I don’t need insurance.”
If the chances are so remote of being involved in a self defense situation, why do you bother to carry a concealed weapon at all? If you carry a gun, you need to be prepared to use it. If you are prepared to use it, you need to be prepared to deal with the aftermath. This policy helps you do that.
“This insurance is written on a surplus lines basis and, accordingly, must be expensive for what your get.”
Surplus lines carriers write coverages that are not available in the standard market. Standard companies will generally not insure any liability exposures that involve firearms – ammunition manufacturers, gunsmiths, ranges, shooting clubs and instructors are all written on a surplus lines basis. The liability coverages involving firearms offered by the NRA are all written on a surplus lines basis. Rates in the surplus lines market are established in the open market and are in a lot of cases much more flexible than standard lines rates which must be filed with each individual state.
The policy is redundant with my other insurance – homeowners, personal liability, umbrella.”
None of the liability policies you currently carry will respond to any expenses on the criminal side of the equation, which can be expensive even if it is a righteous shooting.
“My state has a castle doctrine and I can’t be sued for an act of self defense.”
First, your act of self defense must be legally determined to be a lawful act of self defense before it would fall under the castle doctrine. That means that you could stil incur expenses from retaining a lawyer for criminal defense. Secondly, anyone can sue anyone for anything and, accordingly ,you will be sued castle doctrine or not. A defense of this civil suit must be mounted until the court decides that your case falls under the provisions of your castle doctrine. Finally, in most cases, the castle doctrine only applies within your own residence and does not apply to acts outside of your own premises.
MMD provides the only concealed carry insurance that protects you in the case that you must exercise deadly force. It’s a unique product designed to protect law abiding gun toters, and is an incredibly affordable solution. If you carry a firearm for protection, or even just keep one at home, you should look into what MMD may provide.
MMD’s insurance policies are only available in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, but they are seeking to expand as the coverage pool increases.