Firearms are typically covered by homeowners insurance under the personal property portion of your policy, but there may be limitations to how much your insurer will pay out for certain valuables, including guns. That’s because expensive valuables — like firearms, jewelry, and art collections — usually come with special limits of liability, also called sublimits. In a base policy, firearms typically have a collective sublimit of $2,500 for loss by theft, meaning an insurer will pay no more than that specified amount if your firearms are stolen from your home.
Homeowners insurance also includes personal liability coverage, which covers legal expenses if you’re found liable for injury or property damage. Liability coverage might cover gun accidents, like if you’re cleaning your gun and it accidentally goes off and damages a neighbor’s property, but it will depend on the circumstances of the situation.
When does homeowners insurance cover firearms?
The personal property and personal liability sections of your homeowners policy include coverage for firearms. Depending on your company and policy, firearm coverage limits may be lower for theft losses. Let’s look at how it works.
Personal property coverage
Homeowners insurance covers theft and damage to your firearms and ammo, as well as other belongings in your house, if the loss is covered by your policy. If your gun is stolen from your home or destroyed by a house fire or bad weather, your insurer will likely cover the loss. That means after you pay your deductible, your insurance will cover the remaining costs.
Firearms typically have a collective sublimit of $2,500. That means if you own $5,000 worth of firearms and they’re all stolen from your home, homeowners insurance will only pay out half of that.
Home insurance also covers your belongings while they’re off your property, but off-premises coverage is subject to a sublimit too. Your off-premises coverage limit is usually 10% of your personal property coverage limit.
If you need higher coverage limits for your guns, your insurer will likely have some options for you. One solution is blanket coverage, which increases payout limits on an entire category of items. If you have multiple guns, this may be your best bet. You could also schedule specific firearms to your policy — this may be the preferred option if you only own one or two high-value guns. If you add coverage for your firearms, they’ll be covered at full value, even while you’re away from your home.
Liability coverage protects you financially if an expensive lawsuit is brought against you. Although gun liability may be covered in the event of an accidental discharge of the weapon, it really depends on the situation.
Most standard policies include a liability coverage exclusion for “expected or intended injury,” so you won’t be covered for intentional property damage or injury. That basically means you're going to need to prove you injured someone or damaged something totally by accident. Coverage for self defense will also depend on the specifics of the situation.
Below are a couple examples of when home insurance might cover firearm-related lawsuits:
If you can prove you were just cleaning your gun and it accidentally discharged and injured someone or damaged their property.
You injure an intruder who breaks into your home. You may be covered for injury or damage due to reasonable force, however you’ll need to check with your insurance agent to learn how they define reasonable force. States have different laws when it comes to self defense, so that will also be a factor.
Additional coverage considerations for firearms
Keep in mind that different states have different laws concerning firearm ownership. Depending on which state you live in, you may be required to purchase additional liability insurance in order to legally own a gun. If you own a large collection of firearms, you may also want to consider the additional coverage options below.
Scheduled personal property or blanket coverage
If you own firearms that add up to more than $2,500, talk to your insurance company about scheduling firearms to your policy. Scheduling your firearms will allow you to increase coverage limits on specific guns for an additional premium. This coverage also covers scheduled items that are lost or misplaced. However, a gun going missing is quite different from a piece of expensive jewelry going missing — you’ll need to contact the authorities if your gun disappears.
Personal umbrella policy
Firearms are a liability risk. A standard policy offers up to $500,000 in liability coverage. If your collective assets exceed that amount, you may want to consider a personal umbrella policy, also called umbrella insurance. Umbrella insurance can enhance your liability coverage and is typically sold in increments of $1 million to $5 million.
Learn more about umbrella insurance here.
When does homeowners insurance not cover firearms?
Homeowners insurance will never cover you or your firearms in the below situations:
Damage due to negligence, wear and tear, or maintenance issues
If you intentionally caused bodily harm or property damage with your firearm
Does homeowners insurance cover stolen guns?
Yes, homeowners insurance will cover stolen guns up to your policy’s coverage limit. Your guns are also covered while away from your home. If you schedule an endorsement to your policy for your firearms, they may be covered at full value both on and off your property.