Monday, September 21, 2020

Another Topic Sucking Up My Attention Span

While the temptation to wax eloquent over the Notorious RBG is at least as tempting as jumping headlong into a patch of poison ivy, growing in a fire ant mound, while nekkid, I have other things on my mind.  After watching or reading someone's take on the new environment we find ourselves in, I find myself trapped in the morass of looking into self defense/concealed carry insurance policies.  

You might expect there to be a spreadsheet involved, and there should be.  I just haven't progressed to that point because it's not even clear enough to me how to compare some of the plans.   

Let me give a short summary of what I've found, and if any of you have worthwhile input, please fire away in the comments!  Same goes for if you know of options I don't have here.  With any luck, this might prove to be helpful to others. 

To begin with, there seems to be a couple of approaches to the whole business.  One appears more like conventional insurance; they have a list of benefits and expense amounts that they'll cover up to like you might read in your medical insurance plan.  The example that I found first is Second Call Defense - as in the number you call after you call 911.  They plainly list out coverages, like this:

Immediate Cash for Bond up to $5,000*
Immediate Attorney Retainer up to $5,000
Aftermath Site Clean-up up to $1,000
Legal Protection - Criminal
Criminal Defense Protection up to $50,000
Legal Defense & Indemnity - Civil
Accidental Shooting Protection up to $50,000
Civil Suit Defense Protection up to $500,000
Civil Suit Damages Protection up to $50,000

That's a snippet, not everything they say.  There are different levels of protection for differing premiums.  I don't see anything about a deductible, but I see those limits as hard numbers.  Say you end up getting charged in a criminal case: they'll pay a retainer to an attorney of up to $5,000 and the most they'll pay for your defense is $50,000.  If your defense costs add up to $75,000, the other $25k is out of your pocket. 

The larger number of plans (at least, plans I've found so far) aren't insurance and don't list maximums they'll cover.  The big names are probably CCWSafe and the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network.  CCWSafe is endorsed by Andrew Branca of The Law of Self Defense and probably best known for his book by the same name.  CCWSafe's website includes this note in the description of their various plans:

Note that our company is a legal service subscription plan - not an insurance company - and we are therefore not bound to conflicts and issues related to insurance company products. CCW Safe is designed to indemnify the expenses arising from a covered incident, regardless of the final trial outcome.

 Their description of coverage says things like:

  • Access to our 24-hour Emergency Hotline
  • Critical Response Team onsite response
  • Bail coverage to $500K
  • Vetting of attorneys by National Trial Counsel
  • Unlimited attorney fees covered upfront
  • Unlimited investigation fees covered upfront
  • Unlimited expert witness fees covered upfront

Again, just a snippet.  

Just as CCWSafe is associated with giant legal name, the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network (ACLDN) is associated with Marty Hayes.  They appear to be run by a board consisting of recognized leaders in self-defense training including Massad Ayoob, and John Farnam.   

Like CCWSafe, they say they're not an insurance company, but it's difficult to see exactly what you get for your annual membership.   Yes, they'll help with bail; yes, they'll set you up with a network attorney, and so on, but they're not relatively simple direct statements like CCWSafe's.

If you read here regularly, you've probably seen in the right column that I'm a long time member of Florida Carry, a group dedicated to lobbying and trying to influence the state legislature to do the right things.  Florida Carry recommends U.S. LawShield.  They appear to be a network of attorneys, and I find it difficult to find what their benefits are, too.  Their website simply says:

  • 24/7/365 Attorney-Answered Emergency Hotline
  • Unlimited civil & criminal defense litigation coverage
  • Coverage for all legal weapons

They won't tell me more if I don't register on the website, and I object to that.

Finally, there is a program from the US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), called SHIELD.  They have several levels of program for presumably increasing premiums/costs: Gold, Platinum, and Elite.  For example their lowest level lists these benefits:

  • $100,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for criminal defense, bail bond funding and attorney retainer
  • $500,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for civil defense and damages
  • Retain your existing criminal defense attorney or choose one from the USCCA Attorney Network
  • Protection following the self-defense use of all legal weapons of opportunity
  • Up-front funding for criminal defense and bail bonds
  • 24/7/365 access to the USCCA Critical Response Team hotline

While I'm not a member of USCCA and this is just a gut feel, I've always gotten the impression that this insurance is one of a couple of their reasons for being.  They regularly have gun giveaway contests to pad their mailing list and I unsubscribed to reduce the amount of SPAM I get every day.  

All of them emphasize education and training.  All of them have some training-related benefits in their coverages including books, videos, podcasts, seminars and more.    

What say?  There will be a spreadsheet, and I promise to post it.  

My summer, shorts-and-fishing shirt carry Sig P238.


  1. It might be a really small spreadsheet. Is this "insurance" listed with your state insurance commissioner? Do you have a legally enforceable contract?

  2. It might be a really small spreadsheet. Is this "insurance" listed with your state insurance commissioner? Do you have a legally enforceable contract?

    1. I have no idea, but not close enough to need to know that, yet.

  3. A side note about the Second Call, the one time I used my cell phone to call 911 it was locked to that call until they were done.

  4. When I chose mine, I looked at the Zimmerman/Martin case. His legal fees were over $300,000. I decided that any carry insurance that I got would have to be able to cover those expenses as its primary purpose. Don't fall for the flashy gun giveaway gimmicks. That isn't what carry insurance is for.

    They don't call it insurance, so it isn't required to be covered by the insurance commissioner. It is a "Legal Services Membership."
    The high limits of CCWSafe is why I went with them.

    1. That and their claim of being the only such company to successfully defend someone that was stupidly charged with Murder 1.

    2. I went with CCW Safe after spending some months in analysis paralysis.

      I'd listened to what Attorney Andrew Branca had said about reimbursement versus paying up front.

      If I chose wrong, I'm not locked in for life.

      I read "In The Gravest Extreme" a very long time ago and his Ayoob's advice on when to walk and his thoughts on the legal aftermath stuck with me.

  5. If there is a dead or dying bad guy on my kitchen floor, my first call is CCWSafe, then 911. By entering my home at zero-dark-thirty, said bad guy was obviously willing to forfeit his life.

    The Po-Po are not your friends. Protecting my interests are paramount.

  6. I use Texas Law Shield. I agree they aren't amazing about showing coverage. When I took License to Carry class at end of last day of class they had a rep setting nearby and I joined. Havent really needed them yet though I DID call to ask a question about traveling to a nearby state and a licensed attorney answered my question within 24 hours. Anyway, I found this comparison. Some things I like....You are covered if you defend yourself using ANY weapon. SO if a thug attacks you suddenly at your home and you grab a shovel because it's right there beside are covered. US Law Shield does Cafeteria pricing rather than "tiers". I don't mind cafeteria style pricing. You pay for the coverage you want and not for what you don't. I note US Law Shield coverage varies somewhat from State to State. Depending on options US Law Shield looks like decent coverage at low prices. Again, I don't work for them, results may vary....look at the table on the following webpage.
    Here is an article that shows the differences between US Law Shield and Several other "insurance"

    1. Thanks for the chart. I didn't come up with the right search terms to find something like that, but that's what I've been hoping to find. Perhaps I can add a few more columns to it.

    2. I'm also in US Lawshield. They also have a lot of webinars (a *lot*, like 3 or 4 a week sometimes) that members can watch.

    3. My wife and I got the presentation at the end of our CC class five years ago and joined Texas Law Shield. Hope I never need it but they will be the first call before 911 unless I have access to two phones.

    4. Ditto for Tx Law Shield. They ran a bunch of informative seminars before covid. The 'sign up at your CHL class' thing might be a bit offputting, but it sure was convenient.

      They have sponsored range days that I attended, and a good hands on class on GSW first aid that was well worth the additional fee.

      My 'plan' is about $1/day and covers my wife too.


  7. Here in Colorado, I joined Firearms Legal Protection, since they claim to cover Red Flag incidents.

  8. When I took my renewal class last month, I was covered by USCCA. The local U.S. Shield rep was there, and he gave his 10 minute talk.

    At the time, I was holding USCCA's highest level coverage, which was $48 a month.

    US Shield's was $28,
    For what was effectively the same coverage. ( That, after I chose every single optional coverage they offered.)

    I switched on the spot.

    I will admit, though- I've not looked at the other services.
    So I am not sure I'm getting THE best deal out there.

    (Funny, how, once you've been carrying a few years, you become
    much less enthusiastic about using your weapon as a primary means of self-defense.

    My working assumption is that, if I have to draw and fire, I probably failed in my situational awareness at some point.

    Not always true, obviously- but carry insurance is just a reminder, that, the long fight begins AFTER the shooting- Soros DAs LOVE to Zimmerman CCW holders.)

  9. I too am currently evaluating gun use liability insurance I learned of another underwriter from the Armed America podcast. Its called X Insurance. I currently have a request in with them as they publish little to nothing of their plans

    The Wife and I have held a Florida CCW over 10 yrs and like many, never got around to enrolling in a gun liability insurance program. But last August I was assaulted by a guy and stopped him cold after I put a pistol to his forehead, only after I retreated 20 feet and he kept coming. No shots were fired and a neighbors video surveillance cameras captured the entire event. I was not charged after an on scene investigation of the video and witness interviews by responding police cleared me. Thats when I began my research for gun liability insurance. I consider both criminal and civil coverage essential, and anyone with a home, family, and a lifetimes collection of assets needs high payout plans. Bail coverage is secondary to me, but still important. Also where one resides may be influential in plan coverage limits as in some geographic areas no one will get a fair trial for criminal gun use charges( NY, NJ, CA) etc. I live behind the lines in South Florida, in a majority communist county, so getting a fair trial for a self defense gun use incident is unlikely. I look forward to the evaluation matrix you are putting together.

  10. I'm a NRA member and GOA (Gun Owners of America) member for years and just renewed my CCW. I recently joined USCCA and have been impressed with their organization. I can recommend USCCA to all. BTW - I really enjoy your blog. Great stuff!!

  11. When I looked it a couple years back, they all had the fine print 'we'll cover you as long as you didn't do anything illegal'. Which is a) impossible to plan to satisfy nowadays hence the desire for insurance and b) a question which the legal system has not answered yet.

    - Would Zimmerman be covered?
    - Would the two lawyers in St. Louis be covered?
    - Would Rittenhouse be covered for going and looking for trouble and finding it?
    - Would whatshisname the recent restaurant owner be covered?

    I think gun legal insurance is like Playboy magazine. The thing that is being sold is not actually nonexistent, but in practical terms it is so scarce as to be an engineering zero. Gun legal insurance is selling a fantasy, just like whoever gives out those pocket sized copies of the Constitutions.

    1. I kind of feel the same way. The only thing good about the current situation is you might have a face covering to prevent ID, and if it's at my home I have a shovel.

      If you're white and legal they'll do all they can to fry you.

  12. Check out us law shield. They are in every state though started in Texas. That's who I'm with. Cover everything. Reasonable fees. Membership driven with over 300000 members.if you have to defend yourself with a pencil they'll cover your costs. And they'll continue to pay if a civil suit is filed after the criminal suit. Check them out.

  13. Check out us law shield. They are in every state though started in Texas. That's who I'm with. Cover everything. Reasonable fees. Membership driven with over 300000 members.if you have to defend yourself with a pencil they'll cover your costs. And they'll continue to pay if a civil suit is filed after the criminal suit. Check them out.

  14. Great post, SiG! Since I'm "in process" to get my CCW, this is a most timely posting.