Comparison of Concealed Carry Protection Options for Gun Owners

Responsible concealed carry gun owners have several options when it comes to protecting themselves in the aftermath of a self-defense shooting. The four main types of concealed carry insurance or other legal protection programs for CCW permit holders are as follows:

  • USCCA Membership: Offers legal and financial protection as part of the exclusive member-only training, safety and protection benefit packages.
  • Concealed Carry Insurance: Policies are underwritten by companies with the deep financial pockets necessary to fulfill claims. Just as with other forms of insurance, premiums are a bet against ever having to need the coverage.
  • CCW Pre-Paid Legal Service: Monthly or annual premiums afford the subscriber access to free or discounted legal advice from a pool of in-network law firms. Coverage usually includes all aspects of the legal system (such as divorce, bankruptcy, property, etc.), not solely firearms or self-defense litigation.
  • Other insurance: It is important to find out if your auto, homeowners or umbrella liability insurance policies provide coverage for acts of self-defense. Consult your agent or insurance carrier to determine this vital information.

Each form of CCW protection offers varying benefits, as shown in this overview chart:

FeatureUSCCA MembershipCCW InsurancePre-Paid Legal ServicesOther Insurance
Criminal ProtectionYesYesYes?
Civil ProtectionYesYesYes?
24/7/365 Critical Response TeamYesNoNo?
Your Choice of AttorneyYesYesNo?
Up-Front ProtectionYesNoNoNo
Concealed Carry Magazine SubscriptionYesNoNoNo
Weekly CCW Training DrillsYesNoNoNo
Training Community Giving ProgramYesNoNoNo
Certified Firearms Instructor NetworkYesNoNoNo
Live Self-Defense Training BroadcastsYesNoNoNo

But First — What is Concealed Carry Insurance?

CCW insurance — and other forms of concealed carry legal protection programs — are relatively new concepts resulting from the rising number of registered concealed carry permit holders throughout the United States. In the most basic of terms, self-defense insurance provides legal protection benefits to the holder should he or she ever have to use force in a self-defense or home-defense incident.

The insurance commonly provides coverage for legal representation and defense in the event that you’re subject to a criminal investigation. These policies may also provide coverage for defense in civil court proceedings stemming from the self-defense act.

Involvement in a self-defense action may result in complications such as:

  • Having your weapon seized as evidence
  • Being held in police custody during the investigation
  • Astronomical legal fees
  • Specialist/expert/lab fees
  • Lost time at work or school
  • Mandatory court dates
  • Bail costs
  • The possibility of conviction and imprisonment
  • Possible civil suits, even if found not criminally culpable

How Does Concealed Carry Insurance Protect Gun Owners?

The purpose of concealed carry insurance is to have an organization standing by to back you up in the event that you are required to use force while defending yourself or a loved one. CCW insurance plans commonly include legal representation — whether that takes the form of the assignment of an in-network lawyer, up-front funds with which to retain your own lawyer or reimbursement of legal fees after the verdict. Most self-defense cases will involve some form of criminal investigation, but there is also a risk of civil litigation. Unfortunately, responsibly armed Americans have been successfully sued by the “bad guys,” even after dismissal of the criminal case.

Many CCW insurance providers provide benefits in addition to basic legal and financial representation. Do your research before deciding about a concealed carry insurance provider. Different companies provide different services, and many offer varying levels of “protection” within their own service models. It is also wise to research local laws concerning concealed carry and self-defense, or to consult a knowledgeable attorney.

When choosing a concealed carry insurance company you should consider:

  • Representation during criminal proceedings
  • Representation during civil proceedings
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Timeliness of compensation (up-front or deferred)
  • After-hours or 24/7 customer service
  • Coverage caps, deductibles and out-of-pocket limits
  • Choosing your own lawyer or being assigned from a pool
  • Negligence/accidents
  • Fine print exclusions, exceptions, disqualifications and limitations

Review any potential CCW insurance policy to determine if it exclusively covers firearms-related incidents, or if you are covered while using weapons of opportunity, such as rocks, umbrellas, frying pans, etc. If your state allows the carrying of non-lethal weapons such as OC spray, batons or stun guns, it would be wise to see if your carry insurance policy would cover those weapons as well.

What Types of Concealed Carry Protection Are Available?

1. USCCA Membership

It should be understood that a United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) Membership is not concealed carry insurance. Membership in the USCCA provides the equally important benefits of self-defense education, firearms and gun safety training, as well as legal and financial protection in the case of an incident. You will also join a family of nearly 300,000 responsible gun owners who enjoy award-winning, Wisconsin-based customer service and the security of a 365-day money-back guarantee.

You won’t receive that kind of value from concealed carry insurance.

How does it work?

We all prepare for the worst while hoping for the best, so the USCCA offers hours of training in situational awareness, conflict avoidance and de-escalation. No one wants to wind up in a situation where the only recourse is violent self-defense — but it happens. The USCCA exists to guide and support responsibly armed Americans just like you before, during and after any self-defense incident.

In the aftermath of a self-defense incident, your first move is to call 9-1-1. Once emergency services are on the way, USCCA Members are directed to call the 24-hour Self-Defense SHIELD emergency hotline. The agent who answers the call will aid in calming you down, offering advice and will provide the resources to obtain legal representation, if necessary. Most importantly, this specially trained agent will stay on the phone with you as long as possible and will keep in contact throughout the following days. The best that you can hope for from a concealed carry insurance company is a card with a phone number.

What are the USCCA protection benefits?

An integral part of every USCCA Membership is the revolutionary Self-Defense SHIELD, a comprehensive financial and legal protection benefit which provides support to members in the days, weeks and months following a self-defense incident. The program was launched in 2012, in an effort to provide comfort and aid to law-abiding gun owners who are forced to face all-new battles in criminal — and often civil — courtrooms. The monetary benefit caps described below define a per-incident limit, and do not represent a ceiling based per annum or on length of your membership. If you find yourself in the unfortunate space of needing the protective benefits of the USCCA Self-Defense SHIELD more than once, rest assured that the full allotment of resources will again be made available.

  • Access to up to $2,250,000 in protection* following the self-defense use of legally carried weapons — including your gun.
  • 24/7/365 access to your Critical Response Team, who will walk you through the aftermath of a self-defense incident.
  • Have the freedom to choose your own attorney or simply choose one with experience in firearms and self-defense case law from the USCCA Attorney Network.
  • If you have an attorney, you may choose to retain his or her services or simply access the USCCA Attorney Network to find an attorney with experience in firearms and self-defense case law.

Legal Protection Benefits for Gold Membership*

  • $100,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for criminal defense, bail bond funding and attorney retainer
  • $500,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for civil defense and damages
  • Retain your existing attorney or choose one from the USCCA Attorney Network
  • Protection following the self-defense use of all legal weapons of opportunity
  • Up-front funding for criminal defense and bail bonds
  • 24/7/365 access to the USCCA Critical Response Team hotline

Legal Protection Benefits for Platinum Membership*

  • $150,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for criminal defense, bail bond funding and attorney retainer
  • $1,000,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for civil defense and damages
  • Retain your existing attorney or choose one from the USCCA Attorney Network
  • Protection following the self-defense use of all legal weapons of opportunity
  • Up-front funding for criminal defense and bail bonds
  • 24/7/365 access to the USCCA Critical Response Team hotline

Legal Protection Benefits for Elite Membership*

  • $250,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for criminal defense, bail bond funding and attorney retainer
  • $2,000,000 in Self-Defense SHIELD protection for civil defense and damages
  • Retain your existing attorney or choose one from the USCCA Attorney Network
  • Protection following the self-defense use of all legal weapons of opportunity
  • Up-front funding for criminal defense and bail bonds
  • 24/7/365 access to the USCCA Critical Response Team hotline

*All Self-Defense SHIELD protection dollar values specified above represent the Protection Plan Benefit limits and are subject to all terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Membership Agreement.

What are the educational benefits?

Being responsibly armed doesn’t stop with your Constitutional right to bear arms. In fact, making the decision to carry a firearm, or even to simply keep a gun for home defense, is where the real responsibility begins. The USCCA is proud to be an industry leader in gun safety, situational awareness and self-defense education as well as a font of knowledge on topics regarding the legality, current events and culture of the concealed carry lifestyle.

Included Gun Education Resources for All Gold members:

  • Receive instant access to 15 lifesaving guides and eBooks and 10 checklists that cover everything from choosing a handgun to the justified use of deadly force.
  • Use your CCW Reciprocity and Gun Laws By State Map to ensure you know your state’s laws and exactly where you can and cannot carry your firearm.
  • Unlock exclusive member-only features in the USCCA app such as the attorney locator map and CCW permit-validity alerts when crossing state borders.
  • Look forward to weekly updates on firearm news and gun law changes from USCCA President and Founder Tim Schmidt.

Included Gun Education Resources for All Platinum members:

  • Receive instant access to 30 lifesaving guides and eBooks and 10 checklists that cover everything from choosing a handgun to the justified use of deadly force.
  • Use your CCW Reciprocity and Gun Laws By State Map to ensure you know your state’s laws and exactly where you can and cannot carry your firearm.
  • Unlock exclusive member-only features in the USCCA app such as the attorney locator map and CCW permit-validity alerts when crossing state borders.
  • Look forward to weekly updates on firearm news and gun law changes from USCCA President and Founder Tim Schmidt.
  • Monthly invitation to attend interactive “Ask an Attorney” webinars

Included Gun Education Resources for All Elite members:

  • Receive instant access to more than 70 lifesaving guides and eBooks and 10 checklists that cover everything from choosing a handgun to the justified use of deadly force.
  • Use your CCW Reciprocity and Gun Laws By State Map to ensure you know your state’s laws and exactly where you can and cannot carry your firearm.
  • Unlock exclusive member-only features in the USCCA app such as the attorney locator map and CCW permit-validity alerts when crossing state borders.
  • Look forward to weekly updates on firearm news and gun law changes from USCCA President and Founder Tim Schmidt.
  • Access to full archive of “Ask an Attorney” webinars

What are the training benefits?

Training is a crucial part of preparedness and the responsibly armed lifestyle. While marksmanship is an important aspect of handling a firearm, USCCA training takes it a step above with defensive firearms training based on real self-defense or home-defense scenarios. This includes live training broadcasts, hours of instructional videos, weekly training videos and access to a nationwide network of USCCA-certified instructors.

Gold USCCA Membership Concealed Carry Training includes:

  • Weekly training videos
  • Live training broadcasts with firearm industry experts (three times per year)
  • Discounts on in-person training from USCCA Certified Instructors
  • Proving Ground scenario-based training series (over 30 videos)

Platinum USCCA Membership Concealed Carry Training includes:

  • Weekly training videos
  • Live training broadcasts with firearm industry experts (three times per year)
  • Discounts on in-person training from USCCA Certified Instructors
  • Proving Ground scenario-based training series (over 30 videos)
  • Situational Awareness video —
    • Learn how to establish a solid foundation of preparedness, find the firearm, holster, and ammunition that’s right for you, and learn how to recognize and avoid potential threats.

Elite USCCA Membership Concealed Carry Training includes:

  • Weekly training videos
  • Live training broadcasts with firearm industry experts (three times per year)
  • Discounts on in-person training from USCCA Certified Instructors
  • Proving Ground scenario-based training series (over 30 videos)
  • Situational Awareness video —
    • Learn how to establish a solid foundation of preparedness, find the firearm, holster, and ammunition that’s right for you, and learn how to recognize and avoid potential threats.
  • When to Use Deadly Force video —
    • What separates you — a law-abiding citizen — from the common criminal? Your right to use deadly force. But when can you use it? And how can you know the physiological changes your body will experience in a deadly force incident? When you’re your family’s first line of defense, you need to know what to expect. “When to Use Deadly Force” will answer these questions so you’re not left hanging if you ever need to protect yourself, or your family, with deadly force.
  • 10+ Hours in eLearning Training Systems ($344 Value)
    • Concealed Carry and Home Defense Fundamentals —
      • This course is a complete guide to understanding conflict avoidance and situational awareness; handgun, shotgun, AR-15 and ammunition basics; defensive shooting fundamentals; the physiology of violent encounters; the legal aspects of using deadly force (including knowing what to do in the aftermath); and a complete guide on gear, gadgets, and ongoing training.
    • Emergency First Aid Fundamentals —
      • This course not only explains the proper way to access a patient, but also covers in great detail the proper way to deal with significant issues like serious bleeding, chest injuries, a compromised airway, spinal injuries, broken bones and more.

2. Concealed Carry Insurance

CCW insurance is actual insurance, similar to other policies you may already hold in that they are underwritten by huge international companies with very deep pockets.

How does CCW insurance work?

As with other types of insurance, your annual or monthly CCW insurance dues cover you in the unfortunate case that you should ever have to use force in self-defense.

What are the protection benefits?

As with all types of insurance, specific coverage caps and conditions vary by provider as well as by the terms of each individual policy.

Common CCW insurance coverage can include:
  • Criminal Case Defense
  • Civil Case Defense
  • Medical and Property Damage Liability
  • Stolen Gun Recovery
  • Misc. Financial Compensation

What are the educational benefits?

Concealed carry insurance providers offer only financial and legal protection with no education regarding legality issues, situational awareness, de-escalation tactics, conflict avoidance, gun safety or even simple first aid.

What are the training benefits?

Concealed carry insurance providers offer only financial and legal protection with no education regarding legality issues, situational awareness, de-escalation tactics, conflict avoidance, gun safety or even simple first aid.

3. Pre-Paid Legal Protection for Concealed Carry

How does CCW Pre-Paid Legal Protection work?

Pre-paid legal assistance involves a monthly or annual subscription for access to a network of lawyers and paralegals. Plans generally include phone consultations as well as discounted or free legal representation to be drawn from a curated pool of in-network law firms. Legal services offered through pre-paid legal subscriptions cover a wide gamut, from divorce and bankruptcy to business law and, yes, criminal or civil lawsuits brought about by self-defense.

Visit Aralegal or NOLO for further insight on pre-paid legal insurance plans.

What are the protection benefits?

Subscribers to pre-paid legal protection gain access to telephone and in-person consultation within a network of law firms. Pre-paid legal plan benefits vary, ranging from discounts on legal services to 100% coverage of legal fees. Users should be very careful to read the fine print, as court cases often include costs above and beyond lawyer’s fees. These hidden costs may include bail bonds, lost wages, expert testimony or forensic lab tests.

What are the educational benefits?

Pre-paid legal plans offer phone and in-person consultations with legal staff, which could be valuable when seeking advice on real or hypothetical situations in which the legal system may be involved.

However, such plans provide no specialized education pertaining to situational awareness, de-escalation tactics, conflict avoidance, gun safety or simple first aid.

What are the training benefits?

Pre-paid self-defense legal plans do not offer gun safety, self-defense or home-defense training.

4) Other Insurance Coverage

Will My Home Insurance Cover Self-Defense?

You should consult your agent or insurance carrier regarding whether your auto, homeowners or umbrella liability insurance policies provide coverage for acts of self-defense. You may be surprised by what you learn — you may not have coverage. To learn more about Home Insurance and Concealed Carry Insurance, be sure to check out this article by the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI).

However, home, auto or life insurance will not provide the training and education you need to be responsibly armed.

Take the Next Step to Carry Confidence™

The choice should be clear, so what are you waiting for? Join thousands of responsibly armed Americans who want more benefits than those provided by simple concealed carry insurance plans or pre-paid legal programs. Become a USCCA member today! Your benefits, and peace of mind, start the minute you join.

Every USCCA membership is completely RISK FREE thanks to our 365-Day 100% Money-Back Bulletproof Guarantee. If, for whatever reason, you decide that you want a refund, all you have to do is call our customer service department at 877-677-1919 and they’ll issue you a prompt and courteous refund.

You won’t get that kind guarantee from ccw insurance.

If you’re still not sure, be sure to check out the 7 Reasons Why Responsible Gun Owners Are Joining the USCCA.

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