Actually, where insurance really helps is if you choose to purchase both Network membership and insurance, because insurance would help with a financial payoff if you lost a civil suit over the incident.
Civil liability is where self-defense insurance really gets tricky. I have yet to see an insurance company address the disparity between their liability limits and monetary awards from wrongful death judgments. Most if not all of the self-defense policies that are written for gun owners have VERY LOW payout limits of $100,000 - $300,000. Now, to me three hundred thousand dollars does seem like a lot of money, but that is not a lot of money if a jury decides you wrongfully took someone’s life. That young robber you shot and killed has a mother and father who loved him, and they will likely make a case that his life was worth far more than $300k. So, you, the policyholder, will be on the hook for the rest of the award. I think a minimum of one million dollars is a reasonable liability limit on insurance coverage.
Now, getting back to the insurance angle the original caller wanted to discuss: His idea was to provide a policy for gun owners which WOULD PAY for the legal defense up front. He had my interest at that point, because at least he understood that the armed citizen must mount the fight up front, not be reimbursed after the fact. Still, you must understand that any insurance policy written will be conditioned upon an act taking place that is out of control of the insured. For example, if you have fire insurance on your home, you are insured against accidental fire or arson, as long as you are not the one purposely setting the fire. In the case of most self-defense insurance policies, your acquittal is the conditional occurrence, because the court, not you, has control over your acquittal. In this gentleman’s plan, the insurance company would pay for your criminal defense up front, and if you were acquitted, you would owe nothing.
But, if you were found guilty, then you would owe the insurance company the cost of your defense. I am still not sure how that would work out, so I will wait to see the details of the policy, if it is ever offered.
All of this brings me to the next question. Before I signed on the bottom line, I would want to read any self-defense insurance policy! An insurance policy is a contract between you and an insurance company. You have every right to read the entire policy in detail before you agree to exchange your hard earned dollars for insurance rights. If you are considering joining a membership organization that says they have insurance in the event you make a claim against them and they will pay your claim, then ask to read their policy to make sure you understand the limits of their insurance. I don’t think full disclosure is too much to ask, is it?
As I close out this topic, please do not ask us, the Network whether or not XYZ policy is good for you to own. We are not in a position to give you advice on whether or not you should buy an insurance policy. We get these types of phone calls all the time, and we always have to tell the person to simply do their homework and make the best decision they can.
Two Member Incidents in April
While, of course, we do not share the details, I just wanted to tell you that this month two Network members requested assistance after being involved in incidents. The first one had his own attorney, so we just contacted her and provided her with a retainer against legal fees. Unfortunately, the member had to sit in jail overnight because he called the Network’s business line after hours, so we did not get the message until the next morning. Within a couple of hours of getting the message, we had tracked down his attorney, retained her and he was out of jail that afternoon.