What is an insurance endorsement?
An insurance endorsement, also called a rider, is simply an amendment to your homeowners insurance policy. An endorsement can add, remove, exclude, or limit your coverage. Most folks add endorsements to homeowners insurance to increase coverage or limits for their dwelling, belongings, and personal liability.
Riders can be added to a policy at the time of purchase, renewal, or mid policy term. They must be added to an existing policy; they can’t be purchased as a standalone insurance product.
What does an insurance endorsement do?
Think of an insurance endorsement as any change that impacts how your policy protects you and your home. That means an endorsement can:
- Add coverage to your policy. For example, this type of endorsement may increase the amount of mold coverage your policy offers.
- Limit or exclude coverage in your policy. This type of endorsement reduces coverage. You may opt for this type of endorsement if you had a coverage in place you no longer need. Otherwise, some insurers may mandate these endorsements because of underwriting restrictions. For example, some of our competitors reduce or exclude hurricane wind coverage or limit liability to your premises.
- Add or remove people and addresses from your policy. Think of this as an administrative endorsement. This type of endorsement updates the language in your policy to reflect your current realities: mortgagees, named insureds, address, etc.
Depending on what the endorsement does, your premium may increase, decrease, or not change at all.
For example, if an endorsement is added to change the mortgagee on your policy, that alone would not impact your premium.
But if you opt for an endorsement that increases your dwelling coverage, for example, that would likely increase your premium. Similarly, an endorsement that decreases that coverage would likely decrease your premium.
Popular homeowners insurance endorsements
These common insurance endorsements are an easy way to customize and add coverage to your policy.
At Kin, we offer flood insurance as a simple add-on to your policy so your home is protected for damage caused by storm surges.
Animal liability coverage
The animal liability endorsement helps pay for injuries and property damage caused by your fluffy friends.
Hurricane screen enclosure
Screened enclosures are an investment – it makes sense to add coverage that protects them. This endorsement can pay for hurricane damage to screened enclosures, aluminum-framed carports, and awnings.
Personal property replacement cost coverage
The default for most home insurance policies is to insure your belongings for their actual cash value. This endorsement makes sure your belongings are covered for their replacement cost, which allows you to purchase similar, brand-new replacements after a covered loss.
Scheduled personal property
If you have jewelry, antiques, fine art, or a coin collection, the scheduled personal property endorsement might catch your eye. It covers your valuable items up to their appraised price.
Increased Coverage A
This endorsement allows you to increase your dwelling coverage, also called Coverage A, without increasing other limits.
Ordinance or law coverage
If you have to rebuild your home after a covered event and are required by law to meet new building codes, this endorsement can help cover the extra expense.
Water backup and sump overflow coverage
This endorsement can cover damages caused by water entering your home through public utilities and septic systems.
You can add sinkhole coverage to a standard home insurance policy to address damage caused by sinkholes.
Limited fungi, mold, wet or dry rot, or bacteria coverage
If you want extra protection for mold damage, this endorsement can help.
Identity fraud coverage
Stolen identities are expensive, but and identity fraud insurance endorsement can offset some of the costs associated with getting your life back on track after an incident, such as attorney and tax advisor fees, credit report fees, loan re-application fees, and more.
This endorsement offers coverage if you get sued for libel, slander, invasion of privacy, or other personal injuries.
Loss assessment coverage
If you’re a member of an HOA or condo association, this endorsement can help pay for loss assessments (i.e., repairs or updates to shared areas of the property).
Golf cart physical damage coverage
Standard home insurance policies exclude coverage for golf carts, but a golf cart endorsement can help pay for damage caused by covered events.
How long does an insurance endorsement stay in effect?
Typically, an endorsement is in force for the duration of your policy term. It can be renewed along with your policy, too.
Limited-term endorsements are available for temporary situations, such as when you renovate your home and it will be vacant for a while. In this case, a vacancy permit, which would only be in effect while the home is being remodeled, might make sense. (Note: At this time, Kin does not offer these.)
Remember: Read your policy & ask questions
If you add a rider to your policy, your insurance provider will typically send a notice of the policy changes and send an updated declarations page.
Because your policy is a legally binding contact, it’s important to understand it. So if you have questions, ask! We’re always happy to help.