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What Is an Insurance Endorsement?

If you need to adjust your home, auto or life insurance policy, an insurance endorsement will come in handy.

Written by Jess Ullrich / July 19, 2022

Quick Bites

  • Insurance endorsements let you add or change your existing coverage.
  • Insurance endorsements are available for multiple policy types, including home, auto and life insurance.

Insurance endorsements and riders and add-ons, oh my! While the lingo might be a little confusing, these terms actually mean the same thing. They’re all ways to alter your existing insurance policy without the headache of getting a new policy entirely. But the endorsement options you have will vary based on your insurer and policy type.

If you’re wondering what insurance endorsements are and how they work, here’s everything you need to know.

Inside this article

  1. What's an insurance endorsement?
  2. How does an endorsement work?
  3. Examples of endorsements
  4. Do you need an endorsement?
  5. How to request an endorsement
  6. Frequently asked questions

What is an insurance endorsement?

If you need to alter your existing insurance policy, an insurance endorsement can help you do that. Commonly known as a rider, insurance endorsements let you add, remove or alter your coverage—or make adjustments like changing your address.

You might need an insurance endorsement if your living situation changes or you buy something expensive. For instance, if you get engaged, you might amend your homeowners insurance policy to add personal property coverage for an engagement ring.

How does an insurance endorsement work?

An insurance endorsement allows you to make a change to your existing policy. And typically, as long as the policy is in effect, the insurance endorsement remains in effect, too—unless you change it again. These changes are legally binding, meaning that they’re enforceable by law.[1] So if you decide to increase your homeowners liability coverage after buying a trampoline, for example, the insurance company will be required to pay associated claims on qualifying accidents.

You can add an insurance endorsement when you buy or receive an expensive item, during an open enrollment period or when your policy renews.

Alert

Sometimes changing your coverage could result in a new deductible or monthly premium, so check with your insurance company about your rates if you’re planning to make a change. This way, you can protect your budget.

Types of insurance endorsements

TypeDefinition
Standard Insurance endorsements developed by large insurance organizations like the American Association of Insurance Services. Standard endorsements are widely used by insurance companies. For instance, a name change might be a standard insurance endorsement.
Non-standard Insurance endorsements developed by the insurance company itself. These may be created to address gaps in standard endorsements and are generally a slight variation of a standard endorsement.
Mandatory Insurance endorsements that are mandated by state laws or large insurance organization regulations. So if a law changes in your state, your policy issuer might work with you to alter the language of your coverage.
Voluntary Insurance endorsements that are voluntary and requested by you, the insured, or the insurance company. Voluntary endorsements are much more common than mandatory endorsements.

Examples of insurance endorsements

Here are some common insurance endorsements broken down by policy type:

Auto insurance

  • Roadside assistance: As its name suggests, this coverage protects you if you need help while on the road.

  • Rideshare: Got a rideshare side hustle? If so, you’ll likely want this coverage.

  • Gap coverage: This coverage can be used to pay off your auto loan if your car is totaled.

  • Glass coverage: This coverage can be helpful if you need to replace your windshield.[2]

Homeowners insurance

  • Water and sewer backup: Water and sewage backup is every homeowner’s worst nightmare, and your standard homeowners policy might not cover it.

  • Buried utility: Also called service line insurance, this covers your underground water, sewage, gas and other buried utility lines.

  • Scheduled personal property: Offers protection for expensive assets in your home, like jewelry or artwork.

  • Appliance coverage: Your fridge, dishwasher, oven and other major appliances are costly to replace. This coverage can help offset that cost.[3]

Life insurance

  • Accelerated death benefit: If you’re covered by life insurance and are diagnosed with a qualified terminal illness, an accelerated death benefit add-on lets you access your death benefit early.

  • Child: While it’s awful to think about, if your child passes away, you’ll need to cover final expenses. This add-on can cover that cost.

  • Waiver of premium: Optional coverage that lets you stop paying premiums if you’re disabled or seriously injured.

  • Accidental death and dismemberment: Offers protection in the event of an accidental death or the loss of a limb.[4]

Do you need an insurance endorsement?

Whether you need an insurance endorsement depends upon your unique situation. While making changes to your policy isn’t typically required, you might decide it’s necessary for you.

Adding coverage can provide valuable peace of mind that your home, car or other expensive asset is protected if it’s lost, stolen or damaged. Beyond peace of mind, it could also protect you financially if the unexpected happens.

There are many different reasons you might decide you need an insurance endorsement:

Address or name change: If you’re moving but you want to keep the same insurance policy, your insurer might let you use an insurance endorsement to change your address. The same goes for changing your name if you decide to do so when you get married.

New personal property: Inherited some expensive jewelry? Built out your valuable shoe collection? Recently bought some fancy artwork? If so, it’s probably a good idea to add a scheduled personal property rider to your homeowners insurance policy. This will help ensure your new, fancy item is covered in the event of loss or damage.

Policy changes: If you want to increase, decrease or remove a certain coverage type from your policy, you can do so with an insurance endorsement. For instance, if you decide to pick up a side hustle driving for a rideshare service, you might want to add rideshare insurance to your auto policy. Or you might decide you want to add a water and sewer backup rider to your homeowners policy for added protection.

Relationship changes: Insurance endorsements are sometimes the result of life changes. Maybe you move in with a partner or spouse and decide to add them to your homeowners policy, or you might get divorced and need to remove your ex-spouse from your life insurance policy.

Added protection: You might also decide to add more coverage to your car or homeowners insurance policy. For instance, you could up your liability coverage to ensure you’re protected financially if someone gets injured at your home or in a car accident where you’re found at fault.

How do you request an insurance endorsement?

To request an insurance endorsement, you’ll need to contact your insurance company. Speaking with a local agent or submitting an online form is likely the first step. You’ll also need to provide some proof of the change you’re requesting, such as a legal name or address change, and you’ll probably need to complete some paperwork. Upon doing so, your insurer will review your request for an insurance endorsement. If approved, the company will adjust your coverage to reflect the changes.

In the case of a mandatory endorsement that’s required by changes in state laws or insurance regulations, the process might be different—and you probably won’t need to request an endorsement at all.

FAQs

Are insurance endorsements the same thing as riders?

Yes, insurance endorsements and riders are one in the same. They let you make changes or additions to your policy based on your needs. Many different types are available, and you’ll often see add-on options for your homeowners, auto and life insurance policies.

How much does it cost to add insurance coverage?

The answer is, it depends. In some cases, adding coverage might not affect your premiums at all. But in others, your premiums could increase or decrease, depending on the changes you’re making to your policy. If you’re thinking of changing your coverage, check with your insurance company about how it might impact your policy’s cost.

What are the benefits of insurance riders?

Insurance riders allow you to alter your existing policy without having to go through the hassle of getting a new policy entirely. They can also offer peace of mind and financial protection if your home, car or another asset you own incurs damage or is stolen, or if someone is injured at your home or in a car accident you’re at fault for.

Article Sources
  1. “Do You Know How to Use an Insurance Rider or Endorsement?” National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Dec. 30, 2020. https://content.naic.org/article/consumer-insight-do-you-know-how-use-insurance-rider-or-endorsement.
  2. “Auto Insurance Basics: Understanding Your Coverage,” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/article/auto-insurance-basics-understanding-your-coverage.
  3. “Homeowners Insurance Add-Ons You Should Know About,” Lemonade, https://www.lemonade.com/homeowners/explained/homeowners-insurance-add-ons-you-should-know-about/.
  4. “Life Insurance Riders Explained,” Guardian Life, https://www.guardianlife.com/life-insurance/riders.

About the Author

Jess Ullrich

Jess Ullrich

Jess Ullrich is a personal finance writer who's been creating online content since 2009.

Full bio

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