Imagine you’ve just inherited your great-grandmother’s diamond engagement ring—an art deco treasure holding the original stone and decorated with a beautiful, handmade filigree. With a standard homeowners insurance policy, chances are you may not have enough insurance to cover that ring. That’s because many basic homeowners policies have a $1,000 limit on jewelry. Fortunately, you can get a rider to cover its full value, once it’s been properly appraised.

Insurance riders give policyholders a way to customize their insurance, often at little additional expense, with riders available for life, homeowners and automobile policies. These riders, sometimes known as insurance endorsements, can provide a less expensive option compared to a stand-alone policy. (For automobile insurance, incidentally, such add-ons are known as optional coverage.)

Riders can also apply to specific conditions, such as the need for home business coverage or increased coverage limits. In some cases, they also exclude certain claims, such as canine liability (which relates to injuries or property damage caused by dogs).

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  • Accidental death and dismemberment benefit, the most common death benefit rider, pays money beyond the regular death benefit to cover sudden, accidental death. It also covers accidental dismemberment and loss of sight, among other conditions.

    Accelerated death benefit helps you cover expenses related to terminal illness. You can use funds from your policy’s death benefits while still living to pay expenses such as medical bills. Any deductions, though, will reduce the amount of death benefits passed to your heirs.

    Term conversion rider allows you to convert term life insurance, which typically covers a specific number of years, to a permanent life insurance product later without the need for a medical examination. Young parents often choose this rider to protect their family’s future assets.

  • Scheduled personal property covers expensive pieces of jewelry (like your great-grandmother’s engagement ring) for a higher amount than a standard insurance policy. Other popular items for this type of coverage include art and antiques, silverware and furs, and handwoven rugs.

    Business property coverage provides additional coverage if you run a business out of your home by covering the costs associated with replacing business equipment and products in case of loss or damage.

    Identity theft restoration coverage can reimburse you for expenses resulting from stolen identity, including legal fees and the guidance of a credit repair counselor. Exact coverage terms vary but, generally, the policy protects other household residents—a spouse, relatives and dependents, typically in their early 20s or younger.

  • Accident forgiveness is an add-on that protects you from insurance rate hikes the first time you’re responsible for causing an accident—a nice benefit for new drivers.

    New car replacement coverage is optional insurance that will replace your late model car with the most recent model if your vehicle is damaged beyond repair in an accident.

    Rental car reimbursement will normally cover most of the cost of a rental car while your own car is in the shop due to an accident.

There are many other riders and additional coverage options available, of course. Like all insurance products, these riders and optional coverage policies can offer you peace of mind. Most come with additional expense—some even with considerable expense. And there’s always the possibility that their costs can rise over time.  

Still, read your basic insurance policy carefully. You may find you already have the coverage you need!  

Get Your Checkup

AAA insurance agents are a great resource to answer questions about your coverage, no matter what company insures you. To see if you’re getting all available discounts, go to AAA.com/Insurance, where you can find a representative and learn about a free AAA Triple Check insurance policy review.