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What is an Insurance Endorsement?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Like every other business in the world, the insurance industry has its own unique language and thousands of acronyms only insurance geeks understand…insurance geeks like us here at TTAI.

That brings us to the term “insurance endorsement.”

The main thing to remember about the word “endorsement” is that it’s synonymous with the phrase “policy change.”

In short, any time you add to, take away from, or change the basic coverage on an insurance policy, you are “endorsing your policy.”

Endorsements can be requested at any time, but have to be approved and executed by the insurer or an agent with the proper authority in order to be “effective.”

Endorsements Are Sometimes Extras

For example, you may purchase a standardized homeowners insurance policy, but “endorse” it to include certain coverage types that are not part of the standardized package – standardized, meaning the average person does not need or typically feel obligated to purchase the coverage for their home.

Perhaps you want to add coverage for continuous and repeated leakage of water or foundation water damage coverage to the base policy.

Either of those additions would be considered “endorsements” to the basic policy form.

There are usually over 20 such endorsements available on a basic homeowner’s insurance policy (what is covered under a homeowners insurance policy?).

You may have options to endorse your home’s policy to include earthquake insurance coverage, additional value for personal items (personal articles floater), or even golf cart liability coverage.

Changes Are Treated as Endorsements

Further, any change made to a policy after it’s initially issued and effective is referred to as an endorsement as well.

For example, you may need to endorse (add) a new vehicle onto your auto insurance policy when it’s purchased, which usually coincides with an endorsement to delete the vehicle you have sold or traded in.

[New Car Insurance Grace Period]

But personal insurance policies aren’t endorsed that often. Once you decide what coverage you are comfortable with there isn’t much left to work with during a policy term…maybe adding or deleting a car here or there, but nothing too major.

Commercial Insurance Endorsements Common

However, endorsements on commercial insurance policies tend to be much more frequent since businesses are generally more dynamic than our personal lives.

The bigger the company being insured, the more endorsements they’ll likely need.

Two of the most common are the additional insured and blanket additional insured endorsements.

Contact your insurance company or independent insurance agent if you need to add, remove, or change your coverage.

Tip: If you’re curious which endorsements you currently have, take a look at your declarations page.

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