Top 3 Things to Know When Purchasing a Gun

When exercising your right to bear arms it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities, and those of your insurance carrier.

Self-defense Options

Many people in Wisconsin purchase firearms with the intention of protecting their loved ones in the event of a possible home invasion. As such, states like Wisconsin have passed home intruder legislation, sometimes referred to as the “castle doctrine”. Such legislation directs most criminal and civil courts to presume that you acted reasonably if you were to use deadly force in particular situations. Additionally, there are alternative self-defense options that are non-lethal (i.e. Taser, pepper spray, etc.) which will still hurt any potential intruders but are not life threatening.

Planning Your Purchase

Your Homeowners or Umbrella Liability policies do not automatically cover you in all situations, there are certain exclusions that exist. Your policies will exclude coverage for personal liability and medical payments if you intentionally cause property damage or bodily injury to another person. A firearm that is purchased without proper planning can lead to liability or medical claims a family may not be protected for, or that an insurer cannot avoid. This exclusion is very broad and while many people have challenged these exclusions by filing claims, the courts have sided with insurance companies and these exclusions stand firm in current insurance policies.

Proper Storage

So you have your concealed carry license, you own, and know how to properly maintain your firearm. Now you need to carefully consider where you will keep a gun in your home. You may be under the impression that your gun is automatically covered by your homeowners insurance because your policy says it covers your “personal property.” Think again! Being a responsible gun owner means taking the proper safety precautions to store your gun and ammunition in a locked safe. Unsecured firearms are prone for unsafe users (think children and nosey houseguests) to steal or accidentally discharge. While homeowners insurance covers belongings like furniture and clothing, high-value belongings like guns and jewelry are regularly excluded.

If you own a firearm(s), be sure to enhance your insurance policies with an “endorsement” to cover liability, theft, and other risks. Think of it like a separate, mini-policy for the gun. Your typical home or condo policy might only cover as little as $2,500 if the gun is stolen after accounting for your deductible.