Your home insurance policy is designed to protect you if the unthinkable happens, but a basic policy might not cover everything you need. To supplement these gaps, riders — also called endorsements — can add, delete, exclude, or change your insurance coverage. If your homeowners’ insurance policy excludes or limits coverage for something you need, adding a rider may ensure you have the appropriate coverage.
Why Add Home Insurance Riders to Your Policy?
Adding a home insurance rider to your policy could provide coverage for items that are not typically included in a standard policy. For example, if you own art, antiques, or jewelry, your standard policy may not cover the full replacement cost if any of those things are damaged or stolen from a covered peril. Owners of high-value items could add a rider specifically for those items, which would increase coverage limits, often to each item’s appraised value.
Or, if you’re planning to invest in expensive landscaping, are running a home-based business, or want to make sure your boat, jet ski, or other similar items are fully covered, adding riders specific to each of those things to your home insurance policy may be appropriate.
You can also use a rider to add extra protection against things like natural disasters, mold, and fungus, or even identity theft. Adding riders to your home insurance policy allows you to create more personalized coverage.
How Home Insurance Riders Work
Each insurance company has its own eligibility requirements for obtaining coverage. In many cases, the insurance carrier will require an appraisal or a detailed description of the item or items you want to insure. If you think you need a home insurance rider, reach out to your insurance company or speak with your agent.
Once you’ve provided the necessary information, your insurance company will add the rider to your policy, send you a bill for the increased premium, and send a confirmation once your coverage goes into effect. Your rider is attached to your homeowners policy and remains in effect until you either cancel the rider or cancel your policy.
If you suffer a loss that is covered by the rider, you can contact your insurance company and file a claim for the loss in the same way you would for your basic home insurance policy.
Common Home Insurance Rider Options
There are many different types of home insurance riders to choose from. These are some of the most common.
Riders for Personal Property, or Scheduled Personal Property Riders
Riders for personal property, also called “scheduled personal property riders,” provide extra coverage for the valuable things you own. Not only can these riders increase the amount of insurance on the covered item(s), but they may also protect against additional risks not typically covered under homeowners insurance, such as losing or misplacing the item.
Standard home insurance policies provide personal property coverage that is typically set at around 50% to 70% of your dwelling coverage amount. However, some specific high-value items have limits on coverage; for example, theft of jewelry may only be covered up to $2,500. If you own high-value items like jewelry, antiques, or collectibles that would cost you more than the standard coverage amount to replace, a scheduled personal property rider might be a smart choice for you.
One common reason homeowners purchase a jewelry rider is to cover their engagement and wedding rings. Since a basic homeowner policy may cover as little as $1,000 to $2,500 for jewelry, it often makes sense to add this as a rider.
Most jewelry riders cover each individual piece of jewelry you own at an agreed-upon value, which is typically the appraised value. They can be used for both jewelry and high-end watches and usually protect you against damage, theft, and even mysterious disappearances, such as if a piece is missing but you are unsure if it was stolen or misplaced. Some higher-end riders may also reimburse you if a gem or stone falls out of your jewelry or watch.
Fine art and antique riders
A fine art and antique rider covers items like a cherished Oriental rug or the antique silverware that has been in the family for generations. Since these types of items are typically irreplaceable, a standard insurance policy often provides compensation based on the item’s actual cash value at the time of loss. This depreciated value may be far less than what the item is truly worth.
When you purchase a fine art and antique rider, you and the insurance company agree upon the replacement value of each item upfront so there are no surprises if loss or damage occurs.
If you have a prized coin collection, valuable model trains, baseball cards, or other types of high-value collectibles, you may want to consider purchasing a collectibles rider. In some cases, it’s possible for a rare collectible to be worth more than your home, so it likely makes sense to insure it specifically.
Riders for Damage to Your Home
Once you’re confident your valuables are covered, you may want to consider some of the scenarios that could cause structural damage to your home. Standard insurance policies cover perils like fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism. Adding appropriate riders to your policy could give you the insurance you need to cover the replacement cost of your home.
However, it’s important to note that standard home insurance policies exclude many common perils, such as damage from hurricanes or tornadoes, or water damage from a backed-up drain. Luckily, you can purchase riders to cover some of these events. Depending on where you live and the age of your home, you may want to add one or more of the following riders.
Water backup rider
A backed-up drain or sump pump can flood your home and ruin your floors, drywall, and furniture. Not only can it be expensive to replace these items, but there’s also a cost involved in removing the water and properly drying out your home to avoid mold and rot. Standard policies typically do not cover this peril without a rider.
Building code rider
When you make a claim, your standard home insurance policy covers the cost of repairing your home’s existing structure to its original state. However, if you live in an older home, you may find that it’s no longer up to code. A building code rider covers the costs associated with any additional work that needs to be done to bring your home into compliance with current building codes.
Weather or natural disaster peril riders
If your home is hit by a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, mudslide, or another natural disaster, the damage may be severe. Depending on the typical weather conditions where you live, you may want to purchase home insurance riders like windstorm coverage, earthquake coverage, and/or sinkhole loss. However, some natural disasters are not covered under policy riders and require a separate insurance policy altogether, such as flood insurance.
Your home insurance policy can cover more than just your home. With the right riders, you can add coverage for your at-home business, your boat and jet ski, and even protect yourself against identity theft. Here’s a closer look at each of these riders.
Home business riders
With so many people making the move into home-based offices, home business riders are becoming more popular than ever. These home policy riders can help protect your business inventory, computers, office furniture, tools, and other business-related property. If a client was hurt while visiting your home-based business, your standard home insurance policy likely wouldn’t cover it, whereas a home business rider would add that protection. Some home business riders also cover general commercial liability, business interruption, accounts receivable (up to a specified limit), and more.
Identity theft rider
Though stand-alone identity theft protection programs and insurance policies are available, you could also add an identity theft rider to your home insurance policy. This rider can help you pay for costs like legal fees if your identity gets stolen. In many cases, a rider is less expensive than a separate policy or program.
Trailer and watercraft riders
Standard home insurance policies usually provide some coverage for boats and other specific watercrafts, but it’s typically not as much as would be needed for full coverage. Adding a rider ensures your eligible watercrafts and trailers are financially protected and offers coverage whether they’re at home, in transit, docked, or on the water. However, keep in mind that larger boats may not be covered by a rider and instead may require their own separate insurance policy for coverage.
How Much Do Home Insurance Riders Cost?
Some riders, like identity theft and business property coverage, have an average cost of $25 to $50 per year. Others typically cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year. Generally, adding home insurance riders to your existing policy costs significantly less than obtaining separate insurance policies. Of course, it’s important to note that the cost of riders varies depending on the insurer, coverage limits, and the type of rider.
When choosing a home insurance rider, be careful not to base your decision on price alone. Instead, take the time to read through the details so you can fully understand what is covered and ensure the rider you’re considering meets your need.
Adding a Rider to Your Home Insurance Policy
If you’re wondering whether you need one or more home insurance riders to your policy, start by taking an inventory of your personal property. Then, consult with your insurer so they can explain your policy rider options and help you choose the most appropriate coverage for your needs.