I recently sat down with my Insurance broker to get some clarity on how my firearms are protected and thought it might be a good idea to pass what I learned on to you, as well as a few other considerations.
Home Owner's Insurance
Traditionally, firearms coverage falls under the same insurance as all personal property. Check your policy to see what your limits are for private property. In the case of a fire, this coverage is the max payout you can receive if all your property is lost.
If you feel that the max payout is too low, you may want to make some adjustments to your policy. Also, confirm which “perils” are covered. Theft and fire are “perils,” but loss or breakage are generally not included in the coverage.
Also, policies can vary from one insurance company to the next, so always be sure to check with yours to make sure.
In addition, one should also be sure to have a complete inventory of one's property, including firearms. If you can't prove to the insurance company that you owned inventory, to begin with, they won't reimburse you.
The best way to create the inventory is to use a video camera. Clearly show each firearm and all the accessories and safes in the house. Store the video on a disc or USB drive with a family member or in a safe deposit box.
Keeping it in the house won't help you much when the house burns down, and your inventory is also lost.
Protect Your Guns
It's also a good idea to take the appropriate steps to protect your guns before calamity ever strikes.
If you don't already have one, a big, heavy fire safe may be a good option. You can make the argument that it'll save you money in the long run, even though a fire safe can be a significant upfront investment ranging from several hundred to thousands of dollars.
Only you can weigh it out: Is it better to lose your guns in a fire or theft or protect them before the bad stuff even happens?
The key to choosing a proper fire safe, is that you want one that meets a couple of different criteria. First, the safe needs to be big enough for whatever you're going to be putting in it. While some folks just buy one that's just big enough to fit the guns they currently have, they end up, in the long run, needing to buy another one because their collection of firearms continues to grow.
A hefty safe comes with the added benefit of being heavy and more challenging for a determined thief to move. That heft, coupled with bolting it to the ground, will make it too much for the average burglar, causing him to move on to easier to targeted items.
Therefore, buying a safe you can grow into may be a better bet if you buy many guns or are a collector or just want one that is harder to move.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fire rating on a particular safe. For the most part, though any safe company can fudge these numbers any way they see fit, the higher the rating, the better. Any decent gun-safe manufacturer will have proven fire times and temp ratings.
And, as we all know — water and guns don't mix well.
Finally, you can add a safe to your insurance if a fire or theft happens. Once again, just make sure you've got documented proof that you own said safe.
Protecting your guns is an essential part of gun ownership. While it's a good idea to make sure your insurance covers these items, keeping them out of harm's way and out of the hands of a thief is also a good idea.
Contact your insurance company to find out how your guns are covered and if you need to make any adjustments. Also, make sure you check out our safe page to find the fire-rated gun safe that's right for you.