Choosing a concealed carry insurance company with which to do business can be confusing at best. Trying to get an apple to apples comparison on two different companies with two different concepts of what you want and need in a concealed carry insurance program makes the comparison difficult. In this article, we do a deep-dive between USCCA vs US Law Shield.
How do we compare concealed carry insurance companies? When comparing concealed carry insurance companies, we look at several factors.
- What is covered?
- How much is total coverage included?
- Are there any caps on the coverage?
- What other services and benefits do they offer?
- How do the prices stack up in relation to what is offered?
Sorting through the sales and promotional material to get to these hard facts can be daunting. I am going to look today at two of the leading concealed carry insurance companies in the U.S., USSCA vs US Law Shield. Hopefully, we can make it easier to understand how these two companies relate in terms of the questions we ask.
Written by Dennis H., former military/preparedness retail store owner
Understanding USCCA vs US Law Shield
A little background about USCCA vs US Law Shield can give valuable insight into the philosophy and the mission of each organization. Before we go any further, you must understand that the basic reason any corporation exists is to make money. That is the driving force of any corporate entity and gives us a common starting point to look at both companies. The differences come in how each company elects to make those profits by attracting customers.
United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) was started in 2003 by two friends who were concerned with the implications for themselves and their families should they ever have to use their concealed carry firearm in a self -defense situation. Founded as an educational association, USCCA has grown into the largest concealed carry insurance provider in the U.S. as well as a major educational and training resource for firearms enthusiasts.
USCCA is chartered as a membership organization and describes its vision and priorities as
- Legal Protections
Meeting these three priorities has put USCCA at the forefront of education for concealed carry license holders. The comprehensive tools and educational programs are designed to keep concealed carry holders aware and abreast of the latest changes in the legal environment and the technical area of concealed carry.
Training is part of the educational process. Ongoing and focused training should be a part of every concealed carry holder’s regular routine, and USCCA provides both hands-on and distance traying opportunities as part of its membership package.
Last, but certainly not least, is the legal protections built into the membership package from USCCA. Designed to protect concealed carry holders from both criminal and civil lawsuits and the associated additional expenses that can occur, the USCCA concealed carry insurance package has become one of the most popular in the U.S. and is the driving force behind USCCA’s growth and popularity.
U.S. Law Shield (formerly Texas Law Shield)
Texas Law Shield was created in 2009 by a group of concealed carry second amendment friendly lawyers who saw the problems concealed carry holders had with the justice system after using their concealed carry firearm for self-defense.
U.S. and Texas Law Shield are chartered as limited liability companies (LLC). Technically, these two companies are pre-paid legal services and not insurance companies. The stated priorities and goals of U.S. and Texas Law Shield are:
- The creation of a united group to provide awareness, education, training, and protection
- Education is the top priority for the members
- Empowerment of members to act without fear of the consequences in a self-defense situation,
- Provide strength in numbers to the members for legal and financial protection.
These goals are met by U.S. and Texas Law Shield by providing a comprehensive set of opportunities and services as part of the membership. These include
- A large member base for strength and financial stability
- Legal support and protection from a pool of tested and known attorneys
- The freedom to exercise your second amendment rights without fear
- A comprehensive set of education and training programs
U.S. and Texas Law Shield puts no caps on the coverage for legal expenses on both criminal and civil defense. These unlimited coverages are the biggest attraction for many concealed carry license holders. Legal defense expenses can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and can cripple any family. Financial protection is the number one reason most concealed carry license holders cite for joining a concealed carry insurance program.
The Head to Head Comparison
|USCCA||U.S. Law Shield|
|Cost||• Gold Level – $22 per month or $247 annually |
• Platinum – #30 per month or $347 annually
• Elite – $47 per month or $497 annually
|• $10.95 per month or 131.40 annually |
• One-time member account fee of $19.95 per member
|Coverages||Gold Membership |
• $600,000 cap on legal self-defense expenses
• $350 per day of paycheck replacement during court sessions
• $3,000 in hardship coverage
• $3,000 for therapy or other emotional and psychological support
• $1.5 million in legal self-defense expenses
• $500 per day of paycheck replacement during court sessions
• $4,000 in hardship coverage
• $4,000 for therapy or other emotional and psychological support
• $2.25 million in legal self-defense expenses
• $750 per day of paycheck replacement during court sessions
• $6,000 in hardship coverage
• $6,000 for therapy or other emotional and psychological support
|Base Coverage |
• No Limits on legal expenses for covered criminal or civil cases
• 24/7 emergency attorney hotline
• Coverage for any 2nd amendment incident
Add-ons (additional expense)
• Identity Theft Coverage (+$6.95 per month)
• Multi-State protection (+$2.95 per month)
• Bail Bond and expert witness coverage (limited states – $2.95 /per person per month)
• Hunter Shield Protection (+$2.95 per month)
• Minor children coverage (+$2.95 per month)
Looking at the way these two organizations have structured their options gives a clear understanding of their vision of what concealed carry holders want in a legal defense protection plan. USCCA has structured its plan around providing excellent legal coverage on a tiered basis. The more financial coverage you want, the higher the monthly fees.
U.S. Law Shield has taken what is commonly referred to as a cafeteria plan approach. The basic coverage gets the subscriber unlimited legal coverage and access to all the other education and training opportunities. If you want more protection, you pick and choose from their list of add-on options to build the plan that best fits your needs.
The Pros and Cons
Each of these organizations approaches the goal of protecting its members and subscribers from the financial catastrophe that can happen when defending both criminal and civil legal actions. Each has its strengths and weaknesses
- Tiered membership options allow you to choose the level of protection you want to carry.
- Available in 48 states (New York and the District of Columbia are the exceptions)
- Compensation for loss of your paycheck when you are in court
- Coverage for psychological and hardship expenses
- Spousal coverage inside your home included with the membership.
- Coverage in “gun-free” zones
- You get to choose your own attorney
- Caps on legal fees for criminal and civil defense.
- Memberships are relatively expensive
Overall, USCCA provides a comprehensive set of protections. The advantage of choosing your own attorney may be important to some people. On the other hand, even at the most expensive membership level, the caps on the legal defense amounts can be quickly used up if both a criminal and civil legal situation develops.
U.S. Law Shield Pros
- Unlimited coverage for both criminal and civil legal proceedings.
- The basic coverage for legal expenses if very inexpensive.
- The cafeteria-style plan allows you to custom tailor your coverages to fit your needs.
- Coverage in 44 of the United States (at additional cost)
- Direct hotline to an attorney 24/7
U.S. Law Shield Cons
- Adding extra coverages adds additional cost to your membership plan
- No additional payments for hardship or psychological support
- Daily compensation for loss of income during court appearances is not available
- You cannot choose your own attorney.
While the pros and cons seem to favor USCCA, a big factor must be the unlimited caps on the legal fees offered by U.S. Law Shield. If the number one reason people want concealed carry insurance is to protect themselves against the financial disaster than can occur from legal fees, the unlimited cap offered by U.S. Law Shield is an overriding benefit.
Some people take issue with having to use a U.S. Law Shield attorney rather than their own attorney. I have an excellent personal attorney who takes care of my affairs. However, he is not a criminal defense attorney and readily admits that in the event I get involved in a criminal defense situation from using my concealed carry weapon, I would be much better off finding a criminal defense attorney who knows the criminal legal system. The attorneys used by U.S. Law Shield are vetted criminal defense attorneys who deal with this kind of legal situation on a regular basis.
Where USCCA vs US Law Shield Overlap
Both organizations have similarities that should be noted. Many times, these other benefits of membership in a concealed carry legal plan are overlooked. It is important to note these options and make use of them.
Both organizations offer a 24/7/365 hotline that is answered by a live person. There is a difference. The U.S. Law Shield hotline is answered by an attorney. The USCCA hotline will connect you with a company representative, not an attorney
If you are involved in a self-defense shooting incident, both companies provide payment up-front. This policy of quick payments means you don’t have to stand an initial financial hit before the coverage kicks in. This can keep your family safe and financially secure during what can be a tense and emotional period.
Training and Education
Both companies list education and training as their top priority. This reflects an understanding that a properly trained and educated concealed carry license holder is less likely to get involved in a self-defense shooting because they are more situationally aware and that well trained and documented individual is easier to defend in court.
The Self Defense Situation
Each of these organizations covers the use of legal firearms in self-defense. What most people don’t realize is that the coverage extends to any weapon you may use on the spot for self-defense. This can include the knives, sticks, or even a firearm recovered on the scene during the self-defense incident.
Which is Best for You?
Personal needs and circumstances always dictate how you find the best fit for your needs. You must consider your situation and your lifestyle before you make any decision. In general, if you want the most legal expense coverage for the least amount of money, U.S. Law Shield is the obvious choice because of its unlimited cap on civil and criminal legal fees.
If you travel extensively in the U.S. and you want to carry your concealed weapon, USCCA may be a better choice. It offers multi-state coverage at no additional expense. However, this does not absolve you of educating yourself about the concealed carry statutes in each state in which you travel. You must still abide by the local laws no matter where you concealed carry. Neither of these organizations will provide any assistance if you are charged with violating a local law or ordinance outside of a self-defense situation.
Pricewise, the two organizations are quite similar. If you purchase the U.S. Law Shield and put on every available add-on, your monthly fees will be about $20 per month. The Gold membership with USCCA will cost you just a few dollars more while the top-tier of USCCA membership will almost double your U.S >aw Shield monthly fees.
My Choice between USCCA vs US Law Shield
I opted years ago to become a member of what was then Texas Law Shield and is now U.S. Law Shield. The unlimited caps on legal and civil defense fees were and, in my opinion, remain the priority consideration for my family and me. My wife and I don’t travel extensively, but I carry the U.S. Law Shield multi-state add-on to my membership.
I have already spoken to the issue of choice of attorneys. For me, I would rather have an attorney who is conversant with the criminal defense system and has experience in that line of work. I believe that I can trust U.S. Law Shield to provide the most competent legal representation I need without having to stress my family with finding and hiring a criminal defense attorney in the midst of the trauma of a self-defense incident.
Since I live in Texas, and Texas is where U.S. Law Shield was born, the coverages and options tend to be geared toward the legal system in Texas. Fortunately, I have never had to exercise the benefits of carrying a concealed carry insurance. I hope that I never need them. On the other hand, I think that U.S. Law Shield provides the coverages and protections that I need in Texas.
In the End
Whatever choice you make in a concealed carry insurance organization, I encourage you to have something. Overall, the expense is negligible and will certainly repay itself many times if you are ever confronted with the need to exercise the options. There are two cards you should have in your wallet every day you concealed carry, your concealed carry license, and your concealed carry membership card from the company you choose.