I've spent most of the day researching CC insurance options, and I think I'm set on CCW Safe. They are the only ones that protect you from start to finish for a self defense case, upfront, whether or not you are found guilty in the end. They pay for ALL the legal expenses and there is no cap or limit, for either criminal or civil trials. Others operate on a reimbursement program and only reimburse your costs after you are found innocent. Stay clear from those.
From what I have read on CCW Safe:
They will secure a lawyer that is closest to you and they will pay for ALL of the legal expenses, no cap or limit, for both criminal and civil trials.
After a shooting you will most likely be in a criminal court (violation of criminal law/ The State vs You). The outcome of a criminal case will either be you are found guilty or innocent (ie. for self defense). CCW Safe will pay for the entire defense case, guilty or not, or even if you take a plea agreement. They're the only one I have found that do all of this.
If the family of the bad guy or the guy himself (if still alive) later decides to take you to civil court (damages/death/medical expenses/claims that are not criminal, etc.) CCW Safe will also defend you. Civil: Private party vs private party i.e. bad guy's family vs you.
EXCEPT if you are found guilty in a civil court case, you are forced to pay monetary damages. CCW Safe will not pay those costs (this is what an insurance group does).
-You have no upfront expenses
-CCW Safe will provide you attorneys
-No caps or limits on the coverage they provide for both criminal and civil trial
-Not limited to just a firearm, and covers any weapon used for self defense, even your bare hands.
-Pays for lawyers, investigators, expert witnesses, etc. Some other competitors do not include the latter two.
-CCW Safe will pay for the entire defense case, guilty or not, or even if you take a plea agreement. Personally, I think this is paramount since we live in a historically anti-gun state, and especially since I live in Crook County.
-Does not cover damages awarded from the criminal trial or judgments during the civil trial
I compared against USCCA, Armed Citizens Defense Network, NRA Carry Guard, US Law Shield (who does not operate in Illinois).
CCW Safe seemed to be far and away the best choice.
The only thing I like more is that USCCA does cover damages that may stem from a civil suit if you are found guilty. However, in some states, if you are found innocent in the criminal trial, you are exempt from civil trial, but I do not know if this applies to Illinois. Does anyone know? My guess is no.
Lastly, I plan to join CCW Safe but I am still shopping for the missing piece which is an insurance policy to protect me from civil damages. From my research, it appears that people often go with a combination of both CCW Safe USCCA:
CCW Safe for legal coverage, and USCCA for education and backup legal coverage, mostly for damages incurred during a civil suit if found guilty.
Having a membership with both seems like the best bet, however I only want specific coverage for civil damages since all of the defense is more than adequately covered by CCWSafe. I don't need or want to pay for redundancy in the USCCA policy if I can avoid it.