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I realize this may vary by state, but am wondering if your typical homeowners policy, and/or an excess liability umbrella policy, cover you if you face a civil suit stemming from your ownership or use of a pistol? Haven't really focused on a particular fact situation, and I realize that could make a difference too, probly no coverage if you are engaged in a criminal act.
 

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Most insurance policies will NOT cover the intentional use of a firearm or any intentional act for that matter. If you drop it and it accidentally and it goes off, you might be covered but you would need to check your policy for any exclusions.
 

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Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a home-defense shooting you're likely to face a civil trial even if you're cleared by the authorities. Your umbrella policy, not justice, is usually what they're after.
 

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I've made a point of following a few well-publicized self-defense shootings here in GA, lately. So far, no civil suits.

My insurance is my choice of venues. :cool:
 

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In Florida and from what I now see, Tennessee, have statutes that protect you from being sued civily if the shooting was legally justified. They just changed the law in FL as of Oct 1st to add that in. It was a welcomed change!

H
 

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It may sound simple, but you need to read the policy. As noted above, most liability policies do not provide coverage for an intentional act. In many states, an act of self-defense, being an intentional use of force, means you are not covered. The insurance company won't provide a lawyer to defend you, or pay the claim. The company may even sue you, to have a court declare that there is no coverage. You should consult a local lawyer who is familar with insurance defense for details on your state's laws.

Statutes setting out defenses, like those in the Tennessee link, are good, but don't provide immunity from a lawsuit that they appear to give. If someone wants to bring a bogus lawsuit, these statutes won't stop them. No one is going to sue and admit the shootee was trying to commit a murder, robbery or burglary at the time. The claim will be that your use of deadly force was excessive and unreasonable, and/or that no such crime was being committed. For example, the defenses in Tennessee's 29-34-201 are limited to situations involving either felonies committed on the defender's property, section (a), or to specified felonies elsewhere, secton (b).

I'm aware of a situation where a homeowner shot a person at his residence. The homeowner says the fellow tried to force his way into the house. The "visitor" claims the homeowner picked him up while hitchhiking and offered to pay him for some work on his house, but upon arrival, solicited sex. An argument ensued, then the shooting. Unless some settlement is reached, a jury will have to sort out who's telling the truth.

The problem with being sued without insurance coverage is that it doesn't take much to entitle the plaintiff to a jury trial. That means your attorney has to engage in lots of expensive pre-trial discovery and investigation, just to be ready to present the defenses at trial.
 

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There is no universal standard for how one will be treated in the event one uses lethal force in self defense. In states run by the Barney Franks, Schumers, etc., etc., of the world, you're not going to be treated the same way as if you lived in a state run by the Zell Millers of the world.

Additionally, your specific jurisdiction within a political subdivision will treat you differently than other jurisdictions within the same political subdivison.

Most importantly, why fret about things over which you have absolutely no control? The last thing you want, should you ever need to fire in self-defense, is to have even a glimmer of hesitation or concern about your civil or criminal liability. If you're in a legitimate self-defense situation, YOU'LL KNOW IT!! It won't be like the magical thinking of sophomoric fantasies.

Contrary to information disseminated by those who make a living disseminating information and offering "remedies", there are, in fact, very few civil suits resulting from legitimate cases of self-defense shootings. One can always find an anomalous anecdote of the guy who shot a guy who claimed to be an innocent victim of a sexual solicitation. Maybe the guy was the innocent victim of sexual solicitation! In 99.99999% of the cases, it's going to be pretty evident that Mr. Crackhead A broke into Mr. Honest Homeowner B's home and was killed upon entry. End of case. No suits.

For my anecdote de jour, I'll refer you to a thread started a few weeks ago about the Mercer University law student (Macon, GA) who shot the unarmed intruder who broke into the law student's apartment. Student was watching TV upstairs with g.f. They heard somebody on their front porch. They saw the b.g. They turned their lights on and off, so the b.g. would know they were at home. The bad guy broke in through a large window and, with the burglar alarm blaring, continued to come inside. G.f. was on the phone with 911 while law student had taken a position with his handgun at the bottom of the stairs. Law student makes excellent choice/shot and kills intruder. End of story.

You don't need to put Gerry Spence on retainer. You don't need to buy an umbrella policy. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on psychotherapy because you're in angst about whether you'll actually have to use the firearm that you own/carry. Just go about your life. If you do have to use a firearm in self-defense, shoot true. Dead men tell no tales. Chances are, you won't get sued. If you do get sued, maybe the prosecutor will hire Messiah Adoodi as an expert witness, and your case will be a breeze.
My fee for all this nearly-Providential advice? $0. Ya gets what ya pay for!:cool:
 
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