I heard there was a House bill introduced that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance, since the risk of a fatality goes up. Is this a good idea?

  1. 37376 POINTS
    David G. Pipes, CLU®, RICP®
    Business Development Officer, T.D. McNeil Insurance Services, Fresno, California
    This isn’t really an insurance question but rather a political question. Having said that, the principle of insurance is pooling a risk that is too great for an individual to bear, that way the gun owner, in this case, would pay a relatively small premium to avoid paying a large claim. A weapon can do tremendous damage and accidental or purposeful actions involving a weapon could lead to substantial judgments.
    Answered on June 16, 2015
  2. 617 POINTS
    Waltere Koti
    Principal Agent, First Insurance Agency Inc, United States
    Only politicians can decide if they want to mandate gun owners to carry liability insurance or not. A gun is not like a car insurance or health insurance that affects the lives of just about every one and liability claim may bankrupt an individual. By mandating every one to buy car insurance helps drive down the cost because the pool is larger. Gun liability insurance may be left up to the individual as opposed to being mandated by the government.
    Hope my humble opinion helps.
    Answered on June 18, 2015
  3. 21750 POINTS
    Jim Winkler
    CEO/Owner, Winkler Financial Group, Houston, Texas
    That is a very interesting question! I'd guess that from an insurers standpoint, anything that they can sell a policy for would be a good thing for them. There certainly are statistics that will prove that people with guns are at more risk of gun violence or accidents than those that don't own guns, so you can be sure they could make some money. As to whether they should be able to? That is a stickier question. We require American's to have auto insurance, because the damages were far too high without it; health insurance because of the ever increasing costs of health care. I suppose for me, it would come down to the same principle - does making all gun owners have a liability policy lower the risks or costs for the majority of people like health or auto insurance does? If it deters some one who really shouldn't have a gun because of some burning need to go out and immediately use it, then I'm for it; If it helps lower medical costs/liabilities than maybe; if it doesn't do anything but cost gun owners and profit big corporations, then I'd have to pass. A very interesting question, and one I'm glad you asked. Thanks!
    Answered on June 23, 2015
  4. 447 POINTS
    Thad Bynum
    Owner/ Partner, Bynum Insurance Agency, Inc, Clayton, GA
    Our constitution via the 2nd amendment addresses the right to keep and bear arms. It really doesn't speak as to having insurance so I would have to say that insurance would be a matter of personal choice only.
    Answered on June 25, 2015
  5. 11783 POINTS
    Larry GilmorePRO
    Agent Owner, Gilmore Insurance Services, Marysville, Washington State
    This really isn't an insurance question as a political one. I can only offer my opinion and it may not be agreeable to some depending on where you live. Do I think gun owners should carry liability insurance by mandate? Yes, I do. And I will tell you why. Accidents happen. Guns get discharged accidently, hunters and hikers are accidently shot every year. What happens when the person who has been shot, but not killed? Who pays their bills? Who covers the cost of their care? Should the person responsible be able to say, sorry I have no insurance, too bad for you.

    Someone already cited "part" of the 2nd amendment in a post. Let me add the other part, " A well regulated Militia". I am a well regulated insurance agent, which means I am licensed for insurance sales and required to carry "E&O (errors and omissions) insurance" to protect the consumer. If by accident I were to cause harm, there would be coverage to help them. It's an expense to me as I pay for this coverage. I don't mind that much because if for some reason, by accident I created a harmful situation I would want to provide more than an I'm sorry.
    Answered on July 5, 2015
  6. 2777 POINTS
    Terry A. McCarthy, CLU, ChFC
    President, Insurance Associates Agency Inc., West Chester, OH
    From the practical point of view only, the answer is no (but even this answer can't be separated from the politics as much as I would like). I suspect that your question is hinged in some political viewpoint so I will avoid the political implications. Now, should people insure for the liability they have the potential to create? In that case, I say YES. It is common sense from how I think. That said, however, most gun owners I know and have insured during my career are law-abiding, conscientious citizens and they buy liability insurance that will likely apply in one extent or another to non-intentional events with a gun and these policies will likely pay the amounts and events permissible by policy language. I know of no policy language in personal liability policies that prohibits paying for injuries caused to another while hunting, or of damage to the property of others caused by non-intentional and unintended discharge of the gun. However, I would hazard to say that it wouldn't be long before carriers would react to reduce and eliminate their exposure if our politics insisted upon coverage or attempted to mandate coverage. It is well understood that the gun won't shoot without the act of some human to make it work. (Except for Google) Cars won't drive without drivers. Legal, responsible gun owners are not the people we read about in the news. Note: Applying this answer to a business or commercial enterprise is unwise and my answer was directed towards a personal application. Different answers apply in the case of a business out of necessity.
    Answered on July 6, 2015
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