Legal protection or self-defense insurance is like having pre-paid legal services. In the fact that you are paying to afford top legal representation in a self-defense situation. If you are ever involved in a self-defense incident rather in your home or out in public. You will likely need an attorney to represent you afterward. Not all the companies I am going to list are considered insurance coverage, but all cover their members in most cases.
So how much coverage is enough, and do you even really need it? The companies that are considered leaders in this field are Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network, CCW Safe, and USCCA. Let’s start by looking at what happens after you are involved in a self-defense incident.
First, there will be a call to 911. From there you will likely be disarmed until after the investigation is completed, months or years down the road. This is also where you will have to explain the basics of what just happened. You may need medical attention, and you will most certainly be detained by the police. It is likely you will be taken down to the police station for questioning. If you read “concealed carry the dangers to new handgun owners”. It shows the steps you need to follow when dealing with the police.
What Happens after a self-defense incident?
It is highly likely that you will experience the physiological effects of fight or flight response. Even if you think you are fine at the moment. There is almost a 100% chance you will need an attorney to guide you through the entire process. According to renowned Attorney Andrew Branca, a simple aggravated assault charge could cost around 50k just to get to trial. You can be charged with aggravated assault for pulling out your gun and using it as intimidation.
We just seen a couple in Michigan get charged with felonious assault for pulling their guns to stop an argument. It is unlikely that you will ever be in a self-defense situation and yet they happen to American citizens every day. In every case, there is an investigation to determine if charges are going to be brought against the gun owner. Attorney Andrew Branca also went on to say that gun owners can be charged if a prosecutor wants to get law clarification by a judge, or even as a political ambition in the making.
Why Self Defense insurance is needed
Even if you did everything right, it does not mean you won’t be charged with something. Going to trial can easily cost you well over 100k, and a murder trial can be over 300k. This is where companies that provide legal protection come in.
Rather you’re a victim of an overzealous prosecutor, you did everything right, or you made a mistake in judgment. You will likely need an attorney at some point. Knowing the laws is critical in knowing when it’s okay to defend yourself. That said only an Attorney will know when and how those laws apply to you.
Knowing the laws may have you covered in a self-defense situation. Being able to use them to prove it, will take an attorney. Their retainer alone is going to range from 10-50k depending on what they think it will cost to defend you. Attorney’s can go through all the evidence, walk you through talking with the police, investigate, get expert testimony and prove you followed the law. While there is nothing wrong with a public defender, it is unlikely they will have resources and funding you will need to get a fair trial
Self-Defense Insurance Companies
Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network Self-Defense Coverage
Let’s start with Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network(ACLDN). This is probably the only one on the list that is not an insurance company in the actual sense of the word. They are not backed by insurance and they don’t give blanket coverage based on how much you pay. ACLDN is more like a community of gun owners that use part of their member benefits to cover each other. They have no caps on coverages, except for bonds. They offer up to 25k in bond money to its members which would allow it’s members to use bail bonds for up to 250k.
Their board members are the best in the industry by far. They are people like Massad Ayoob, Tom Givens, Dennis Tueller, and John Farnam to name a few. Their board includes some of the top legal minds in the industry.
ACLDN focus on making sure their members get all the latest legal aspects and training they need. The so-called catch is their board determines if a member gets access to the funds. They provide the legal training, it is up to their members to do their job and learn it.
As long as their members follow their training, then ACLDN will protect them through the whole process. Their coverage also covers the cost of expert witnesses, private investigators, mistrials, civil defense, and anything needed to assist you in your case. They are also the cheapest to join out of everyone else on this list.
ACLDN won’t pay to defend criminals, if you were the aggressor or pulled your gun without being in a self-defense situation, they will not cover you. ACLDN provides all the training you need to be able to legally defend yourself. There training is not filled with 5 minutes “what if” videos or political opinions but rather full videos and articles on actual cases and laws.
Joining ACLDN means joining a community of people who only want to defend themselves if forced to. If you are considering the ramifications of defending yourself, then it is likely you will take the time to learn the best practices, and ACLDN shares that knowledge with its members.
ACLDN coverage is not for the person who believes they can run out and pull out a gun whenever they need to stop a conflict. Nor for the person who thinks they already know all the laws and that they are covered no matter what. They have just over 18k members who are focused on learning about self-defense and self-defense laws. Although I found their site a little vague on what they covered; however, when I reached out to them for a response they responded quickly and answered all my questions. This would be my top choice for myself if it wasn’t for the fact that they don’t offer a payment plan.
ACLDN membership is only $135.00 a year and $95.00 every year after that. Their video library alone is worth more than that. As a result, they also offer bigger discounts for longer-term memberships of 3 and 10 years. They will cover additional family members who live in the home for $60.00 per year per person. Even at that rate, they are still the cheapest. When renowned Attorney Andrew Branca was asked which self-defense insurance companies he would choose, One of his 3 picks was the ACLDN.
Less risk Of refused funding
Because they are not backed by an insurance company. Their members are covered directly from the membership fund. This means no insurance company can later determine you shouldn’t be paid. They have successfully defended their members due to their knowledge of legal self-defense.
From reviewing their site, it didn’t look like they covered outside expenses that some of the other companies do. For example, time off work to go to court, loss of gun, red flag laws, and counseling after the fact. They are not traditional legal coverage. A better term would be self-defense assurance.
CCW Safe is another one of the top 3 self-defense insurance companies recommended by Mr. Branca. This self-defense insurance has the highest bond out of all the companies. They offer up to $1 million in bond coverage. They also cover up to 1 million in civil damages as well. Their coverage in a self-defense situation is probably the best in the business right on par with ACLDN. The actually exceed ACLDN in other benefits and coverages they offer.
CCW Safe has a critical response team ready to fly out and be at your location. The response team includes retired detectives and an attorney they use for consultations. This next thing could be considered a downside or a benefit. They have a council of lawyers that must approve the lawyer you want to use.
They claim that they vet the attorneys so that they not only specialize in criminal defense but also criminal self-defense. It could be a real asset knowing that your attorney has been trained and handled criminal’s self-defense cases.
The Flip side of that
For self-defense insurance though, you may find they might restrict an attorney based on their cost. I am not saying that is what this company does. I am simply saying that it should be a concern when the company wants to approve your lawyer.
The company also has a host of training videos and online content pertaining to self-defense cases and laws. They have a few plans but the two-worth mentioning are their defender plan and the ultimate plan which requires a concealed carry permit. They do have plans for personal protection, home defense, constitutional carry, and others that may fit your needs. These plans don’t require a concealed carry permit.
The Plan Details
The Ultimate plan is listed below. The Defender plan is $179 annual or $16 monthly. Access to their 24-hour Emergency Hotline, and On-site Critical Response Team. Bail coverage up to $500K, vetting of attorneys by National Trial Counsel, no limit attorney fees covered upfront.
Again unlimited investigation fees covered upfront, and all expert witness fees covered upfront. All trial costs covered upfront, firearm replacement during the trial, Up to $250/day loss-of-wages during the criminal or civil trial. Licensed counseling coverage up to 10 sessions (or $1,500), and crime-scene cleanup in-home up to $3K if needed.
They do offer add-ons as well. Defender Plan includes spouse coverage at home only for an additional $100 she gets full coverage; up to $1 million bail coverage for an additional $50; and dedicated civil liability coverage up to $1 million for an additional $220. The defender plan was the only one I found with a monthly payment option.
What’s not covered
When looking around this should be a group you consider seriously. They have a very good reputation but again they are an insurance backed company. Training offered will likely be based on the legal aspect and not instructor based training.
They do not cover in-home conflicts involving family members, ex-spouses, or any domestic violence issues. Most companies don’t cover any domestic issues at all. It is unlikely any company will cover you in anything that is considered a crime. By that I mean if you were holding someone at gunpoint to rob them or trying to force them to do something illegal.
If you have pulled out your gun in a life-threatening situation and not as intimidation. You will likely find all these companies are able to help you.
The USCCA has three packages all of which have a payment plan and allow you to add in your spouse for an extra fee. For example, their 100k legal coverage is $22.00 a month with an additional $7.00 for your spouse. Their biggest coverage advantage is in their civil defense and civil damages. Even their lowest package covers 500k in a civil case. The self-defense insurance is not their best benefit though.
Their best benefit is in all the training they provide. They are the only company on the list that provides actual shooter training as well. They have their own series called the proving grounds. These are all videos of people put in scenario-based training.
You get to see the two scenarios in the set along with the training they give in between each. The USCCA also takes a weekly look at events that happened around the U.S and breaks them down with Police officer Kevin McCloskey and renowned Wisconsin Attorney Tom Grieves.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Their forums also offer the chance to ask real trainers actual questions regarding your own training. Now the downside of the USCCA self-defense insurance. The coverage amounts are lacking for a criminal defense compared to the other companies.
Their top tier pricing is only $2.00 less than CCW Safe with a lot less coverage. Their forums are also filled with a lot of political opinions that may or may not be the opinion of the family who simply wants a gun for self-defense.
In their civil defense amount, they also offer to cover up to $750 a day in expenses, which I could not find clarification on. Their claim was expenses due to arrest and other things but nothing specific to missed work due to the trial.
Everything included in one price
Their legal defense limits of 250k or 100k in their base package include everything from the bond, the lawyer, investigation, and expert testimony. The 250k is blanket coverage for everything. If you reach your limit than the rest comes out of your pocket. Although you could easily argue that a normal case will come under that price tag.
The USCCA does offer gun replacement which is a nice benefit, as well as many gun giveaways to their members. They stay active and heavily involved in training their members. Every couple of weeks new things are added including discounts with several of their affiliates.
|Max plan limits||Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network||CCW Safe Ultimate plan||USCCA ELITEMEMBERSHIP|
|Legal Defense limit||Unlimited||Unlimited||$250,000|
|Civil Defense limit||Unlimited||Unlimited||$2,000,000|
|Civil Damages||No||$1 Million||Yes, Part of the Defense limit|
|Red-Flag law coverage||No||$10k For Attorney||Yes|
|Expert witness||Yes||Covered under the legal defense||Covered under the legal defense|
|Types of training||Legal Carry and Legal Self-defense Laws(From the top Experts in the Business)||Access to legal and training advisory boards||They have the most comprehensive training out of every group. They not only cover legal, scenario based, drills, e-training and much more. Plus, they have qualified trainers around the country. Trainers cost extra|
|Spouse coverage||$60 per year||Yes, must have a CCW for public or without coverage is in the home only- All family members under 18 are covered in the home. Spouse and children under 18 in your home are covered for up to $250,000 bond at no additional fee||$147.00/year|
|Pay for Counseling||No||40 Sessions||No|
|Choose you own Attorney||Yes||Attorney of choice must pass the interview process of their National Trail Counsel or already be part of their network.||Yes|
|Compensation during trial||N/A||$350/day||$750/day See article for details.|
|Mistrials and Appeals coverage||Yes||Yes||Legal Coverage subject to maximum benefit|
|Bond limits||$25k||$1 million||Part of maximum Legal coverage|
|Covered while traveling||yes||All legal weapons are covered in 47 states and Washington DC. – exclusions are New Jersey, New York and Washington state All states where you can legally possess a firearm without a permit are covered||Yes|
|Cost||$135 yearly||$499 Ultimate plan yearly||$497 yearly|
|Monthly||N/A||N/A They offer The Defender plan with monthly payments. See article for details.||$47.00 a month|
|Addons for complete coverage||N/A||$220 for spouse civil liability coverage||$13.00 per month for spouse|
|Renewal||$95||Based on Current Rate||Based on Current Rate|
The Final Breakdown
The goal of this article was to show you some of the best options out there. When I first got interested in owning a handgun for self-defense I realized I would never be able to afford to do so if I had to go to court afterward. No one is going to be thinking about the laws during a self-defense situation.
Yet, everyone is going to be thinking about how they are going to be able to defend themselves in court after one though. That is where legal protection comes in. None of these companies will cover you after the fact unless you are already a member. Which is why it is so important to find one sooner rather than later.
When I first looked for self-defense insurance I only found two. That was the USCCA and the NRA carry guard. The carry guard has since stopped covering people due to the loss of their insurance backer. After seeing what happened with the NRA Carry Guard. I realized this could happen to every one of these companies except the ACLDN.
Who to pick
This has to be your choice. I can only break it down and give you my opinion of each. For the monthly premium, I liked the USCCA and the Defender package of CCW Safe.
While I am a member of the USCCA at this time, the lower coverage I have makes me nervous. USCCA’s main appeal is their training, it is worth being a member for that reason alone. As I consider my own needs for insurance and who I am going to pick in the future. I realize I have to give up the training for the coverage if I leave the USCCA.
My Personal Choice
Now for my personal choices, I would choose either CCW safe defender plan or the ACLDN due to coverage and cost. Keeping in mind that the ACLDN is always going to be funded by its members and not by an insurance company who could later decide to pull funding. If you have the money upfront for other insurance coverage it’s worth looking into them. Only you can decide what works best for your family.
If you feel that no matter what you do wrong you should be covered, then it is likely the ACLDN is not going to be your best option. They provide you with the tools but it’s up to you to use them. They are also the cheapest on the list. Let’s face it we don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for something we may never need but we want unlimited coverage if we do need it. There are others out there but these were the best of the best in my opinion, at the time the article was written.
The USCCA has so many benefits and they pay the attorney’s upfront without question. I would not being doing you justice, if I said they weren’t one of the best around. Even their offline training is being considered the gold standard today, surpassing the NRA. What I liked about the USCCA is the information you get is up to date and trainer backed. There concealed carry and home defense course is used in multiple states to get a concealed carry license. Their training courses are put together by some of the top self-defense trainers in the business. If you are looking for legal coverage along with top notch trainer. The USCCA should be a top choice.