What’s an insurance rider, and when do I need one?
In June of 1970, The Doors got together in Santa Monica to record “Riders on a Storm.” The now-iconic rock song opens to a downpour. Out of the cacophonous rain, Jim Morrison croons “Riders on a storm, riders on a storm, into this house we’re born, into this world we’re thrown.” And really, Jim knew it all too well: into this world we certainly are thrown, and it can be one helluva mess! Broken windows, missing valuables, overflowing sewage (which does not explicitly feature in the song, but...gross). Lucky for us though, there’s insurance to offer protection against storm fallout — be it actual or metaphoric.
If you’ll pardon the extended metaphor, the problem with storms is that not every tempest is the same. Similarly, not every house requires the same kind of fortification. And this, dear reader, is where an insurance rider comes into play.
On paper, insurance riders (which are also called endorsements) are relatively straightforward. They allow for a change or amendment to a policy, and riders can be used to add, modify, or delete something from existing coverage. That is, they allow you to customize your out-of-the-box insurance policy.
When exactly a rider can be issued depends upon your coverage. Many plans will allow amendments at basically any moment between the initial purchase and later renewal. Call us a broken record (but ideally not a Doors record!) with this advice, but you’ll want to speak to your provider about your plan’s specifications.
Riders cover a variety of needs: a change of address, protection against earthquakes or sewage backup, covering a new home business or new valuables, or even the removal of a spouse from a policy post-divorce. They can also be used to limit or remove coverage if needed.
Because their application varies depending on individual circumstances, whether you need a rider can only be determined on a case by case basis. It’s good practice to review all of your policies annually to make sure they meet your needs. If they don’t, an agent can help you decide whether you need a rider or whether an entirely different type of policy makes the most sense for you.
If, like Jim Morrison, you’ve been thrown into this crazy world, a rider can help ensure you’re properly covered by your insurance policy. And whatever it is you’re protecting, we want to make it as easy as possible to stay on top of your insurance — which is why we’ve created the Marble wallet, where you can see all your coverage details, compare providers, keep track of your riders, and earn rewards just for having insurance.