A dozen major carriers will sell identity-theft coverage as a stand-alone policy or endorsement (with other extras) to your homeowners policy. Depending on the carrier, the coverage might reimburse you for expenses incurred if your personal information is compromised. Those expenses may include lost wages, notary fees, and legal fees.
Current events are spurring other types of coverage. A new "green" policy endorsement, for instance, pays to rebuild a damaged home with new, environmentally friendly materials.
What to do
You'll probably fare just as well monitoring your credit reports and regularly changing passwords, among other ID-theft precautions that cost nothing to implement. ID-theft coverage won't prevent your identity from being stolen, and it won't restore all the money you lose as a victim. Linda Foley, founder of the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center, says a policy that won't cover lost wages related to restoring your good name isn't of great value; neither is a policy with a deductible of $500 or more. Some major credit cards—notably American Express and Visa—offer telephone help from experts in the event your identity is stolen.
Before you opt for a green rider, see if the additional cost of using green materials warrants a pricier insurance policy. Some other extra coverage might be worth buying. For older homes, law-and-ordinance riders pay to rebuild according to new building codes. (Most policies will apply about $10,000 toward that cost.)
National flood insurance is a separate coverage that reimburses you for damage from flooding as well as from clogged drainage systems and mud flows. The average premium is around $558 per year. For information, go to www.floodsmart.gov.
Look into policy discounts. You can save money by bundling auto, home, umbrella, and other property coverage with one carrier, and by notifying the insurer when you install improvements such as a sprinkler system, burglar alarms, or a new roof. In some states, you may be able to reduce your overall premium with special shutters, roof-to-wall "hurricane straps," and other mitigation measures.
One new discount: Farmers Insurance Group recently unveiled a homeowners policy in Texas that gives discounts to such occupations as educators, law-enforcement officers, and physicians.