What Is a Car Insurance Endorsement?

Definition & Examples of Car Insurance Endorsements

A smiling woman with natural hair and sunglasses drives her car

A car insurance endorsement is an addition to an auto policy that either provides extra coverage or changes what is insured by altering your standard car insurance policy contract. Endorsements are a way for consumers to cover more situations or types of damage and add perks to their car insurance. However, in some cases insurers use endorsements to limit coverage.  

If you’re thinking about buying car insurance and aren’t sure whether you need endorsements, read on. We’ll explain how endorsements work and which ones you may have to choose from, depending on your needs, location, and insurer.

What Is a Car Insurance Endorsement? 

A car insurance endorsement is a clause added to your car insurance policy that makes a change to the coverage. An insurance endorsement can serve several purposes, such as:

  • Adding extra coverage
  • Increasing the scope of your coverage
  • Making changes to the details of your policy
  • Restricting coverage by adding exclusions 

Alternate definitions

  • An insurance endorsement is a policy form added to an existing policy. The endorsement is used to clarify how coverage applies, add coverage, or alter the base policy contract’s coverage. The endorsement may apply to changes in coverage, risks, or who is a named insured on a policy. 
  • An insurance endorsement is an amendment to a car insurance policy that can include mid-term changes to the cars, drivers, address, use of the vehicle, or any other material change in risk during the policy term. Rather than canceling the policy and issuing a new one, the insurance company will issue an endorsement with the required changes.

Alternate names: Insurance rider or amendment

Common Car Insurance Endorsements 

When you get a quote for car insurance, you will usually be offered the chance to choose extra coverage from a list of endorsements. These are some common car insurance endorsements:

  • Rental reimbursement insurance 
  • Rental car coverage
  • Roadside assistance
  • Towing and labor expense coverage
  • Full glass coverage options, such as no deductible
  • Mechanical Breakdown Coverage
  • Deductible waiver options
  • Accident forgiveness
  • New car replacement insurance
  • GAP coverage
  • Classic or collector car coverage endorsement (allowing the car to be insured to a stated value instead of its depreciated actual cash value)
  • Coverage for driving in Mexico
  • Rideshare insurance

If you’re interested in adding several endorsements to your policy, ask your insurance company if they have an endorsement package. Insurance companies often bundle several coverages together, which may turn out to be more cost-effective than adding them individually. It’s worth comparing a few quotes to see what works best for your situation.

Unusual Car Insurance Endorsements

In addition to the common endorsements offered by many car insurance companies, some less common endorsements or policy options help meet specific needs. These coverages include: 

  • Pet injury coverage
  • Original parts insurance
  • Better car replacement
  • Teachers car insurance
  • Reimbursement for in-home care costs while recovering from an accident

Some companies offer additional coverages as part of loyalty rewards programs, so if you’re interested in a particular perk or type of coverage, always ask the insurance company. It can’t hurt to ask.

How to Get an Endorsement 

If you’re buying a new car insurance policy, you can usually add endorsements to your coverage as part of the purchasing process. You may be able to add certain endorsements to your online quote, or you can contact the insurance company and ask them to add an endorsement for you. 

If you would like to add coverage or make a change to your current policy, an insurance representative will be able to assess the situation, ask questions, and recommend and issue the appropriate endorsement. Companies that provide online policy management may also allow you to request an endorsement through your online account.

When shopping for car insurance, make sure to compare the coverage options and endorsements on each of your quotes. Endorsements may offer more coverage (or less) and they can play an important part in getting the best value for your coverage needs. It’s not just about which quote is cheapest. 

If you’re looking for a particular endorsement and don’t see it on an insurer’s website, it doesn’t necessarily mean the company doesn’t offer that coverage. Contact the insurance company and ask whether it’s an option in your location. Sometimes, insurers use branded names or confusing packages that make it tough to tell which basic endorsements are offered. In addition, some endorsements may not be available in certain states.

How Endorsements Impact Your Auto Premium 

Endorsements may come at an extra cost, be included as part of a package, decrease your premium (if the endorsement limits or reduces coverage), or not affect your premium at all. 

For example, if there is a mistake on your original auto policy and you have to call the insurance company to correct something like the spelling of your name, there will not usually be a charge. However, if you add a new teen driver or increase coverage for a new stereo system, you may have to pay an additional premium.

Key Takeaways

  • An endorsement is a change to your insurance coverage.
  • You can request an endorsement when you need to add or make changes to your policy.
  • If you need to make a change in the middle of your term, an endorsement lets you avoid the hassle of having to cancel a policy and get a new one.
  • Always read the details carefully when shopping for or adding endorsements to your insurance policy.
  • Many common endorsements add coverage that’s not typically included in a standard auto policy.

Article Sources

  1. IRMI. "Endorsement." Accessed Nov. 20, 2020. 

  2. NAIC. "What Is an Insurance Endorsement or Rider?" Accessed Nov. 20, 2020.