Insurance rider in a homeowners policy
Last updated: January 1
An insurance rider — also referred to as a floater or an endorsement — is an optional add-on to an insurance policy. A homeowners insurance rider amends a basic policy. By purchasing a rider on top of your standard coverage, you may be able to increase your coverage limits, expand coverage for certain property or extend protection to help cover additional perils.
Why would I need an insurance rider?
A typical homeowners insurance policy usually comes with a set of standard protections, including:
Each type of standard protection helps cover certain risks, or perils, which are listed in your policy. Each standard protection is also subject to coverage limits and may have restrictions, exclusions or sub-limits. A rider allows you to pay extra to broaden your standard coverage.
Take personal property coverage, for instance. It may limit coverage for certain valuables, such as jewelry. Here's an example: Say your homeowners insurance policy has a coverage limit of $50,000 for personal property coverage. But, your policy also states that personal property coverage has a sub-limit of $1,500 for jewelry. That means if your valuable jewelry is stolen or damaged by a fire, for example, you'd only be reimbursed up to $1,500 to help replace it.
That's where a rider comes in. One common home insurance rider, called scheduled personal property, allows you to increase your base personal property coverage limits on a standard policy to help protect certain valuable items, such as jewelry.
Read your policy to understand what perils it covers, your coverage limits and any exclusions. Your agent can also help you understand how much coverage your policy offers.
Common homeowners insurance riders
Here are some common homeowners insurance riders that you may be able to add to your policy:
A scheduled personal property rider increases coverage for certain valuables, such as jewelry, furs or antiques. When you buy extra coverage and schedule your valuable property, it increases your coverage limits for your scheduled items (usually up to each item's appraised value). This type of rider also helps protect your valuables against additional risks that a standard homeowners policy does not cover (for example, losing or misplacing your scheduled items).
A standard homeowners policy typically does not cover water damage from a backed-up drain or sump pump. For that, you'd need to add optional water backup coverage to your policy. It helps pay to repair certain types of water damage. For instance, it may help cover the cost of replacing furniture or removing water after an unexpected backup damages your residence.
Standard dwelling coverage in a homeowners insurance policy helps pay to repair your home's existing structure to its original state after a covered claim. But, if your home isn't up to current building codes when it is damaged, you might have to pay the difference out of pocket to bring it up to code. When you add optional building code coverage onto your policy, it helps pay the additional cost to comply with local building codes required for repair of your home after a covered claim.
Not every standard homeowners insurance policy helps cover your business property. If you are running a home-based business or need more protection for business property that you keep in your home, you may want to consider adding business property coverage to your policy. This type of optional coverage helps protect business-related items stored in your home (for example, products you are planning to sell).
If your identity is stolen, you could end up spending time and money to restore your name. Identity restoration coverage helps reimburse you for costs you incur after an identity theft, such as legal fees, lost wages or costs to mail documents.
Additional home insurance riders may be available to add onto your policy. These may include coverage for things like landscaping or renovation projects. Your insurance agent can help you choose home insurance endorsements that fit your needs.
When do I need an insurance rider?
Insurance riders expand your coverage or protect against risks that are not covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy.
It may be helpful to have an annual check-in with your agent, so they can help you identify coverage gaps that may exist on your current homeowners insurance policy. Then, you can decide whether additional protection makes sense for you.