What does your Homeowners Insurance cover for Firearms?


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TheOtherOne
September 6, 2003, 12:26 PM
I'm buying a house and just got done talking with State Farm. They will only cover up to $2,500 in firearms or $5,000 if I was willing to pay an extra $25/year (current premium is $335/year).

My parents have Farmers insurance and it seems to be cheaper ($400/year and their house is twice as valuable as mine) but it only covers up to $1,000 in guns.

I searched through some old posts and found one that said the key was to find an insurance company that didn't separate firearms from your regularly covered personal property. Does anyone know who those insurance companies might be? State Farm definitely isn't -- they wanted to know how much value I had in guns, jewelry, silverware, electronics, computers and collectibles.

Anyways, I'm just asking to get an idea on which company has the best and cheapest coverage for firearms on homeowners insurance. I'm going to be on a tight budget and am not really interested in a separate policy just for guns.

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Matthew_Q
September 6, 2003, 01:15 PM
Well, I have renters insurance from USAA, and they didn't ask if I have firearms. I think under my policy, a total loss would bring me a check for $35,000.

Sometimes I wonder if that would be ENOUGH.... With my firearms, and all my related stuff, my computers, furniture... I don't want to think about it!!

Standing Wolf
September 6, 2003, 02:19 PM
I pulled the plug on my automotive insurance with Farmers' a few weeks ago, and cut my costs in half by switching to American Family. I'd have switched my house insurance at the same time—better one bill than a multitude—but the company wanted makes, models, and serial numbers of all my insured firearms before it would let me buy extended coverage for them.

uglymofo
September 6, 2003, 03:20 PM
from http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=129167&highlight=insurance

Let's assume a given:

Gun A value: $3000
Gun B value: $3500
Gun C value: $2900


I have State Farm Homeowner's insurance, and Amica Auto Insurance. Any loss of firearms (fire or theft) that I suffer is covered by my generic homeowner's insurance (renter's insurance may be basically the same in coverage rules, except for the limits). There is a limit though, and it's $2500 per gun, up to a total claim of $5000. The deductible is $1000. That is, if I were to lose 3 guns in a fire, i. e., Gun A ($3000), Gun B ($3500), and Gun C ($2900), the homeowner's policy (in the best circumstance) would cover Gun B and Gun C for a $2500 loss each, limited to the total of a $5000 loss. After the deductible is considered, I'd get a check for $4000, "unless they could replace the guns for less" (right; this is under the condition that I could prove the model of guns lost, and therefore establish a value. Digital pictures will suffice.).

If the guns are stolen from my car, auto insurance wouldn't cover a cent of the loss. Both Amica Auto and State Farm Homeowner's agree about that; the limits of my homeowner's policy would dictate my coverage for loss (fire or theft) from the car, no matter where the car is located at the time of the theft. It seems that the standard in the insurance industry is that the homeowner's (renter's too?) policy is THE policy that covers firearms losses no matter the circumstance (up to the limits of a standard policy, which I've just explained).

Therefore, I must (and have) add a rider (aka 'floater') to my homeowner's insurance, specifying each firearm I want covered--serial number, model, maker, description, and value. Under such a rider, only the specific guns I itemize are insured for losses up to the full value I claim; any number of itemized guns with no upper limit and no deductible.

Under this scenario, if I itemized only Gun A and Gun B under a rider policy, if Gun A, Gun B, and the Gun C were stolen from either home or car, I would receive full declared value of Gun A and B ($6500), and $1500 for Gun C. Gun C would fall under the still-in-force general clause covering firearms, which is part of the regular homeowner's policy. Having a rider in force does not negate the regular firearms coverage provided by the homeowner's policy.

That "general homeowner/renter's insurance" coverage (would equal a $1000 deductible, $2500 limit per gun to a maximum of $5000) in this case, for an unitemized Gun C, $2900 limited to $2500 minus $1000 deductible, or $1500.

I've got a few guns, but losing almost any combination of any 3 of my guns at once would cost way more than the yearly insurance rider fee ($272/year for $16,000 insurance).



THeOtherOne,

To the question you posedI searched through some old posts and found one that said the key was to find an insurance company that didn't separate firearms from your regularly covered personal property. Does anyone know who those insurance companies might be? State Farm definitely isn't --

Actually, I think that other post you found in part agrees with the general insurance industry practice-- in this case, State Farm doesn't separate firearms, up to a limit , which is $2500 per gun, and $5000 total (not including your deductible). I suppose this is more a matter of semantics than anything. I've checked around too, and beyond my homeowner's insurance limits, if I want coverage, I have to pay for a separate "declared valuables" rider.

einnor1040
September 6, 2003, 05:28 PM
Buy yourself a good safe,and keep your pie hole shut about what you have in it or that you even have a safe at all.

uglymofo
September 6, 2003, 05:56 PM
That's good advice; I have a 750 lb safe behind a security system in the house. Dunno the statistical odds, but I'm more afraid of losing the guns when they're in the car, even if they're in the trunk. And the truck is a whole different problem.

Sven
September 6, 2003, 06:00 PM
http://www.john-ross.net/insurance.htm

What to do About Insuring a Gun Collection
by John Ross


I am often asked about the best way to insure a gun collection. Many people advise insurance through the NRA or some other place that "specializes" in insuring guns. I have to say I disagree with the people who recommend this or any other type of add-on insurance. It is much too expensive per dollar of coverage.

What you want is not separate firearms coverage but a homeowners policy that DOES NOT HAVE A GUN EXCLUSION. Get "Replacement cost contents, all risks" on your homeowners policy from a company that sells a policy without a gun exclusion.

A company will sell different policies with different names, like "Prestige Plus" or "Platinum" or whatever. Different policies exclude different things. (Cash is always excluded, or excluded above a small maximum amount. Jewelry is also.) I had a policy once which for some reason excluded anything aviation-specific. The only things I had like that were two parachutes and two headsets, but if they had been stolen or destroyed in a fire they would not have been covered. Excluded items like jewelry must carry separate (expensive) riders in order to be covered. Find a policy that DOES NOT EXCLUDE GUNS.

-[snip]-

There is more at his site. He can also recommend an insurer if you do not have one. I found this website extremely helpful.

-s

farmersagent
March 4, 2006, 09:11 AM
Just wanted to give my two cents regarding the issue between insuring your firearms on an inland marine policy verses a homeowner’s floater.

In most cases your can increase the limits on your homeowners insurance firearm floater and it won't cost that much more a year. Keep in mind the following when you do this:

The firearms coverage only pays for the firearms should they be stolen or in a fire. If the peril isn't listed under the homeowners covered losses, the firearm will not be covered.

Any claim you make will be subject to your deductible. That means that even though you have a $5000/$10000 floater on your homeowner’s policy you'll still have to pay your deductible, which in most cases is 1% of your dwelling amount.

Should you have a loss that falls under the covered peril clause and let's say your firearm as worth $12,000 they will only pay you the maximum amount per firearm (in the case above, that's $5,000) minus your deductible.

The benefits of having a personal inland marine policy:

In most cases an inland marine policy will cover any peril and there is no deductible.

Each firearm is insured and listed separately, which means if you insure your
Colt Single Action .45 for $1800 that's exactly what they'll pay should you make a claim.

Inland marine policies tend to be on the pricey side, but if your willing to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for your firearms, aren't they worth insuring??

wrhodes@farmersagent.com

M2 Carbine
March 4, 2006, 10:01 AM
My guns are and have been covered as personal property.

I had 7 guns destroyed in a fire. Current replacement value was paid to me.

22-rimfire
March 4, 2006, 10:18 AM
I believe that firearms and other valuables may be insured for nearly any amount (value) when a separate rider is added to the homeowners or renters policy. Each firearm will probably have to be listed or identified with a value attached to it. I once had a bunch of photography equipment stolen from my home. I had purchased a rider to my policy prior to that time because of foreign travel and the concern over theft of equipment. The event happened and the insurance company asked that I get quotes on replacement cost and paid every penny less the deductible which I believe was $500. The equipment that was listed on the rider policy was covered for up to the amount of the policy and not subject to the deductible. The other stuff was subject to the deductible.

I took that opportunity to re-evaluate my needs and replaced all the equipment that needed replaced and didn't replace some stuff that I was highly specialized and seldom used. The one thing that helped me was that I saved all my receipts and I had a list of items with serial numbers. At the time, I did not have photographs of each item, but that would be good documentation also.

A little off topic, but I thought I would include this. In the case of firearms, I believe photographic documentation would be very important to "prove" that you owned the stuff. Lying is a criminal offense and the insurance company will insist that you provide the police with all the information available which includes serial numbers and so forth. Hence, in the case of firearms, if you included firearms that were previoulsy "sold" should you be that kind of person, there is a good chance that when that gun is sold again by the real lawful owner, the serial number will identify it as stolen and your crime will be discovered. Don't lie!!!

Drizzt
March 4, 2006, 10:23 AM
With USAA, firearms are not seperate, and are treated as personal property and so are covered up to the full value of the policy.

jacobtowne
March 4, 2006, 10:32 AM
You receive an automatic $1000 (I think that's the amount) coverage free with your NRA membership. I buy additional coverage from NRA Armscare.
My homeowners insurance is Liberty Mutual. The premium they charge for coverage is twice the Armscare premium, and Liberty requires scheduling of firearms by make, model, and SN, which Armscare does not for any gun worth less than $1500.
I can only imagine how many Liberty employees have access to the company's database. No thanks.
JT

MikeK
March 4, 2006, 10:53 AM
I have Nationwide. They will cover up to $5,000 with a rider at ~ $25 a year. Above that you have to provide a list of guns with SN's.

I also have a Residential Security Container.

Rexrider
March 4, 2006, 12:19 PM
Allstate covers up to $5000 and you do not need to provide a list of your firearms. Although they do recommend having a list of firearms and serial numbers available in case you need to make a claim.

PlayboyPenguin
March 4, 2006, 12:31 PM
My homeowners insurance is a little different than most. I have to carry several additional riders due to the value of my collections (actions figures, comics, Disneyana, WB animation art, Swarovski Crystal, etc.). The Riders are not that expensive. I pay like an additional $25 a month to increase my coverage of personal possessions above the $300,000 mark. My homes contents are actually valued slightly higher than my home so the additional coverage is required. I am about to add an additional rider for my guns. I think it is going to cost me and additional $3 a month for $7,500 in coverage. My agent hasn't contacted me back yet. :)

M2 Carbine
March 4, 2006, 12:52 PM
I once taught a fellow to fly that had so much stuff that he didn't insure anything, including the helicopter.

He said that over a period of several years if some one thing was destroyed he would still be ahead over the cost of carrying insurance on everything he owned.:)

mondocomputerman
March 4, 2006, 01:19 PM
I have a renters policy from American Express Insurance for $40,000. They only cover $2,000 total for firearms.

I will get a safe when I move into a house.

Templar223
March 4, 2006, 02:02 PM
I too have State Farm "Homeowners" insurance.

For many years, I had the extra 2500 rider for guns as well as a specific one for several of the most expensive guns. I won't say how many guns or the total amount of coverage, but I will say the annual cost was about $250 IIRC for all the specific gun riders.

Two things that bothered me: 1. They had a list of guns & serial #s and 2. The outlay of money was not trivial.

I had an opportunity to buy a brand new Fort Knox Yeager whatever model safe a few years ago and while it was a lot of money up front (about $2K including moving costs - yeah, it was a bargain!), I figured in less seven years, it would have paid for itself in skipped premiums.

So yes, while $5K in firearms are covered on my homeowners policy now, I figure that covers the social use guns not behind 3/8 inch armor plate and two layers of insulation in the house and guns in the car. That was 3 or 4 years ago, so I've already "paid" for half of the safe already!

John

PlayboyPenguin
March 4, 2006, 02:38 PM
Just a side note...I would STILL insure firearms even if you have the best gunsafe in the world. The threat would be fire. Even gunsafes that claim to be fire resistant will not save your guns in a full fledged fire. My best friend is a firefighter and she has said that the safes sometimes even melt and the stuff in them seldomly ever survives direct contact with flame. Also alot of the fire rating are decptive. There are different types of ratings. I think th UL approved ones are the best indicator. :)

a1abdj
March 4, 2006, 04:02 PM
Just a side note...I would STILL insure firearms even if you have the best gunsafe in the world. The threat would be fire. Even gunsafes that claim to be fire resistant will not save your guns in a full fledged fire.


This is great advice. A gun safe is your last resort before your insurance is needed. Although a gun safe will reduce the risk of fire damage or theft, it will not eliminate it. Over half of the gun safes that I have seen after a fire have had damaged contents.

My best friend is a firefighter and she has said that the safes sometimes even melt and the stuff in them seldomly ever survives direct contact with flame.

That's because gun safes are not "fireproof" like a document safe is "fireproof". Those little cheap sentry fire safes are usually better at protecting against fire than these big expensive gun safes. Of course you shouldn't store firearms in those types of safes.

Also alot of the fire rating are decptive. There are different types of ratings. I think th UL approved ones are the best indicator

I am not aware of any gun safe on the market with a UL fire rating. The simple fact is that the vast majority of gun safes do not meet the UL requirements for fire protection.

The great thing about a gun safe is that it is cheap when compared to your insurance policies. It is a one time purchase that will last you your entire life. A $2,000 gun safe that you get 20 years of use out of figures out to $8.33 per month.

asknight
March 4, 2006, 11:01 PM
a1abdj said, "I am not aware of any gun safe on the market with a UL fire rating. The simple fact is that the vast majority of gun safes do not meet the UL requirements for fire protection."

If a safe is advertised as offering fire protection(most are), it has to be UL or Omega Point Labratories fire rated. Don't buy a "security cabinet", buy a fire-rated safe instead. The burden is on the consumer to verify certification of the safe at the time of purchase, as always.

From http://www.mistymorn.com/whichline.html
Gun Safes - Misty Morn gun safes will secure up to 53 guns -- depending on the size you choose. But these safes are also used to protect many other types of valuables. They provide a convenient, central location for documents, jewelry, cash, family heirlooms, and other important items. A number of interior designs are available to customize your storage needs. Look for the UL security and fire ratings and the Omega Point labels that meet your requirements.

From http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/safes/
The all new Browning/Pro-Steel® Copper™ Series safe line features 1200º F/45 minute Omega Point® Laboratories listed fire protection decorated with attractive wildlife scenes. The new Browning/Pro-Steel® Bronze™ Series of gun safes offer 1200º F/30 minute Omega Point® Laboratories listed fire protection and are available in Browning’s premium gloss or handsome textured charcoal finishes.

For just a couple of examples.

a1abdj
March 5, 2006, 02:12 AM
If a safe is advertised as offering fire protection(most are), it legally has to be UL or Omega Point Labratories fire rated.

There is no legal requirement regarding fireproofing claims for safes, other than what may result in a civil case against the manufacturer for making false claims.

Omega is an independant company, and their ratings mean absolutely nothing in the world of safes.

A UL rating is the benchmark for any safe here in the US. UL test thousands of various products, including security products. Everything from fire resistant file cabinets all the way up to prefab bank vaults are tested by UL.

Omega does some testing for 2 or 3 gun safe companies, whereas UL test safes made by hundreds of safe companies.

As I stated before, I am aware of no gun safe with a UL fire rating. This is because gun safes are not designed or built to withstand UL requirements.

Taurus 66
March 5, 2006, 02:51 AM
No need for me to insure what I have. It's less than 10 guns, and one $200 safe. This safe holds only 2 guns. The rest are strewn about and so well hidden that even if we played "hide and seek" and I told you what was around and about, you'd still have an extremely difficult time finding them, yet each gun (once on site) is accessible within about 10 seconds. Other than "hide and seek", I don't play games when it comes to securing my weapons - my freedom.

asknight
March 5, 2006, 05:20 AM
a1abdj, then I must ask if you work for Underwriters Laboratories? Secondly, we were specifically discussing the fire protection properties of the safe. Not the burglary defense certifications of the safe. Omega is a fire rating and certification company. A fireproof box is not necessarily a burglary proof box, and a burglary proof box is not necessarily a fire proof box. Two totally different standards/ratings.

Clearly, UL is not the ONLY fire rating and/or certifying agency out there. I would suggest perusing www.opl.com before completely discounting their expertise and authority.

Another bit of info from a third party http://www.libertysafe.com/homesecurity.lasso?page=4
"Many manufacturers offer certified fire protection from independent fire testing laboratories. Confirming safes are fire certified takes the guesswork out of non-verified claims made by manufacturers or salespeople. Independent certification is a good way to confirm accurate times and temperatures as published by the manufacturer.

Two of the most reputable independent fire certification companies are Omega Point Laboratories of Texas and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) of Illinois. Both testing facilities simulate real fires by completely consuming safes with the same intense high temperatures found in home/office and business fires. Thermal couples are placed inside the safe to verify that the inside temperature stays below 350 degrees (or a 275-degree temperature rise). The benchmark of 350 degrees has been established because it is the safe level in protecting paper. The typical paper documentation begins to char between 400 and 420 degrees and ignites at 451 degrees (Just like the book, FARENHEIGHT 451). Heat-sensitive newspapers are crinkled and placed on each shelf to verify the readability of documents after a fire. Once a safe passes, all models built within that safe’s series are certified. You can confirm whether or not a safe is certified by looking for the manufacturers certified fire label displayed on the inside doorframe next to the UL label of security."

As an added note, all of the fire doors, and other fire protection equipment in my employer's detention centers are primarily Omega approved and certified, and very few are UL listed. These buildings were designed and built by the State, with all materials selected by state architects. So indeed, their fire rating system does have clout.


You also said "Omega does some testing for 2 or 3 gun safe companies, whereas UL test safes made by hundreds of safe companies."

If you'd kindly go to http://directory.opl.com/cgi-bin/listings.cgi to verify your information before you post, you'll find that Omega tests/rates/certifies for 92 companies, including virtually all gunsafe manufacturers. Quite a big difference in numbers from your claim.


**PlayboyPenguin, please provide a link to your allegation made further down in this thread. I am not finding anything remotely resembling your statement.**

CleverNickname
March 5, 2006, 01:02 PM
I use Historic Firearms. (http://www.historicfirearms.com/) They only want the make and model (not S/N) of guns valued over $10k. Everything worth below $10k can be under blanket coverage.

PlayboyPenguin
March 5, 2006, 01:03 PM
a1abdj appears to be correct. Pop those two different labs into your old web browser and add the words "different requirements" or something similar and you will find all kinds of statements from companies that will not use Omega rating because the govt will not accept them because of unproven test methods and uncontrolled criteria for their rating system. From what I am reading it looks like Omega is just a "label for sale" to whoever wants to pay for it. It seems to be a case of "buyer beware". :)

a1abdj
March 5, 2006, 01:06 PM
Look, I dont' want to get in a pissing match with you, because clearly you know more about safes than I do. :rolleyes:

Let me put it in simple terms:

Gun safe companies use Omega, because Omega has much lower standards than UL.

This is why you see gun safes rated at 1200 degrees, when UL safes are tested at a minimum of 1500 (for 30 minutes), 1700 (for an hour), and 1800 degrees (all ratings over an hour).

UL also tests any fire rated safe to withstand a 30 ft fall to simulate falling through the floor. Omega has no such testing.

UL also test the safes to ensure any moisture content will not cause the safe to explode during high heat. Omega does not.

All of these test by UL ensure that your contents will survive as well as they can under real world circumstances. Omega's testing on gun safes does not simulate real world conditions.

Liberty, Browning, Fort Knox, Champion, Cannon, Armory, Granite, and others, are not safe companies. They are gun safe companies.....a relatively low security, not very fire resistant product invented about 15 years ago.

All real safe companies get UL ratings on their safes. Even foreign companies that import real safes submit them for UL ratings. Insurance companies require UL ratings.

Back to the topic at hand:

I beileve one of the greatest threats facing firearms owners today is lawsuits as a result of not locking your firearms in a secure location. It doesn't matter if it's a cheap cabinet, or a jeweler's rated safe.

You want to make an effort to secure your firearms so that nobody can ever claim you were negligent if they would end up in the wrong hands.

In addition to your homeowners insurance, you may also want to consider an umbrella policy that helps defend you from civil suits.

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