Car insurance covers the damage you cause in a car accident, and a full coverage policy includes coverage for damages to your own car, but that’s just the beginning. You can choose a variety of car insurance policy add-ons, typically referred to as an endorsement or a rider, to give you more protection.
An auto insurance endorsement changes your car insurance policy, allowing you to add other coverage types or adjust standard coverage. Basically, an endorsement allows you to customize your policy to meet your needs.
There are some car insurance endorsements that are useful for most drivers, like roadside assistance (which covers tire changes and towing) and other endorsements that only apply in very specific circumstances, like classic car coverage or custom parts and equipment coverage.
Endorsements of all kinds can help you personalize your auto insurance policy, but they aren’t free — if you add an endorsement to your coverage, expect to pay a higher premium.
List of common car insurance endorsements
There are several auto insurance endorsements that are relatively common, meaning you’ll find them at most major car insurance companies, including:
What it does
Covers the cost of a rental car (usually between $20-$45 per day) while your car is in the shop if your car was damaged by a covered peril.
Covers towing and labor costs if your car breaks down on the side of the road, including towing, tire changes, jump starts, winching, locksmith services, and fuel delivery.
Pays off your car loan if your car is declared a total loss. If you have a loan on your car, the lender likely requires you to purchase this endorsement.
Full glass coverage
Allows you to file a claim to replace broken glass in your vehicle, usually with no deductible or a very low deductible.
Allows drivers with a clean driving record to file an accident claim without increasing their insurance rate.
Provides coverage for drivers who use their car to drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.
List of unusual car insurance endorsements
Some people have unique needs when it comes to car insurance. There are many less common endorsements available for your car insurance, including:
What it does
Miscellaneous type vehicle endorsement
Changes the policy by adding a definition for a miscellaneous type vehicle, like a motor home or a golf cart.
Sometimes you may need to exclude a driver from your policy, which can be done with an endorsement.
Medical expenses for pets injured in a car accident aren't usually covered by your car insurance, so drivers who want that additional coverage will need to purchase an endorsement.
Modified car coverage
If your car has custom parts or other modifications you will need a special endorsement to make sure those things are all properly covered by your insurance policy.
Commercial use coverage
If you use your car for business purposes you will need to purchase a commercial use endorsement to make sure you are properly covered.
Original Equipment Manufacturer coverage guarantees that car repairs will be made with original factory equipment when possible.
Not all of these coverages will be available at every car insurance company, so you may need to shop around and compare quotes to make sure you have exactly the right coverage for your needs.
How endorsements impact your insurance premium
Almost every endorsement comes with it’s own additional cost. A basic endorsement like roadside assistance may only raise your premium by a few dollars each month, while a more complicated or specialized endorsement like commercial use coverage could add hundreds of dollars to your annual premium.
However, it is important to remember that insurance premiums, even premiums for endorsements, are determined by a number of factors. Your driving history has a big impact on your insurance rates, which is why someone with a clean driving record will likely pay less for an endorsement than someone with two moving violations.
Each company also has their own internal system for setting rates. For example, USAA advertises adding a rideshare endorsement to your policy for as little as $6 per month, while State Farm charges upwards of 20% of your annual premium for the same coverage.
Do endorsements have deductibles?
Some endorsements don’t have deductibles, while others may have a deductible or even allow you to choose how much your deductible will be when using the coverage.
For example, a rental reimbursement endorsement doesn’t require a deductible. On the other hand, repairing broken glass is sometimes separated out from your comprehensive coverage and given its own endorsement, complete with a glass deductible. Many companies offer (and some states require) a zero dollar deductible for glass damage.