How Can I Hedge a Long Stock Position Using Options?

Want to protect your long stock position from potential losses? Options can help!

In this article, we’ll show you how to effectively hedge your position using options. We’ll explore two common strategies – the covered call and the protective put – and discuss their outcomes and advantages.  We’ll also look into the obligations and costs involved, and touch on the options collar as a cost-effective insurance strategy.

options trading hedgeKey Takeaways

  • Covered call positions generate income from selling call options while owning the underlying stock, but do not protect from losses.
  • Protective put positions provide the right to sell shares at a specified price, mitigating the risk of financial loss.
  • Buying put options can be costly but offers the choice to sell shares at the strike price, providing downside protection.
  • Creating an options collar, which combines a long stock position with a short call and a long put option, can offset the cost of insurance with income from the call option.

Understanding the Covered Call Position

If you want to generate income from owning stocks shares while providing a specific exit price, you should understand the covered call position. This strategy involves selling a call option while owning the underlying shares (why it is called “covered”). It has several advantages, including generating income from the shares and providing a specific exit price if the calls are exercised.

Understanding the Covered Call PositionStrike price selection is an important consideration in this strategy, with out-of-the-money calls usually being preferred. This strategy doesn’t provide downside protection, but it can offset losses and offer potential gains from the stock even in a down turn.

Exploring the Protective Put Position

To effectively protect your long stock position, you can consider using the protective put position as a potential strategy. This strategy involves buying a put option while holding the underlying stock, which provides the right to sell shares at the strike price until the contract expires.

Here are three key points to consider when evaluating the protective put position:

  1. Evaluating downside protection: The protective put position provides a guaranteed sale price if the market value falls below the strike price. This can help minimize potential losses in a declining market.
  2. Cost effectiveness of protective puts: Buying a put option can be costly, as it involves paying a premium. However, the cost of insurance should be weighed against the potential losses that could be incurred without protection.
  3. Strategies for minimizing risk: Analyzing the breakeven point, which is the strike price minus the premium paid, can help determine the level at which the protective put starts to provide a net benefit. Additionally, understanding the impact of volatility on put options can help in selecting the appropriate strike price and expiration date for the put option.

Comparing Hedging Strategies: Covered Call Vs Protective Put

When comparing hedging strategies for a long stock position, you essentially have two options: the covered call and the protective put. To help you evaluate these strategies, let’s compare the costs and benefits of each as well as assess their effectiveness in mitigating risk.

Strategy Costs Benefits
Covered Call Income from selling call option Specific exit price if calls are exercised
Protective Put Premium paid for put option Guaranteed sale price if market value falls below strike price

The covered call generates income but does not protect from losses, while the protective put provides a guaranteed sale price but comes with a cost. Another strategy to consider is the options collar, which combines a long stock position with a short call and a long put option. This strategy can offset the cost of buying a put option with the income from selling a call option.

Now that we’ve explored these strategies, let’s talk about the obligations and risks of selling shares at the strike price.

Obligations and Risks of Selling Shares at Strike Price

You have an obligation to sell shares at the strike price if the buyer of the call decides to exercise their right to buy at the strike price.

strike priceRisks of assignment: When you sell a call option, there’s a possibility that the option buyer will exercise their right to buy your shares at the strike price. This means you may have to sell your shares even if the market price is higher, resulting in missed profits.

Benefits of selling options: By selling options, you can generate income through the premiums received. This can help offset any potential losses in the underlying stock.

Managing downside risk: Selling options can act as a form of insurance by providing a specific exit price if the options are exercised. This helps protect against losses if the market value of the shares falls.

Impact of market conditions: The risk of assignment and the benefits of selling options can be influenced by market conditions. It’s important to consider factors such as volatility and the likelihood of the stock reaching the strike price.

Diving Into the Options Collar Strategy

The options collar strategy combines a long stock position with a short call and a long put option. This strategy provides hedging benefits by offering downside protection while still allowing for potential upside in the stock.

One advantage of the options collar is that it can help offset the cost of insurance (buying a protective put option) by generating income from the sale of a call option. When implementing an options collar, strike price selection is crucial. By choosing different strike prices for the call and put options, the cost of the put can be largely offset by the income from the call.

Advantages of Options Collar Strategy
Provides downside protection
Generates income from selling calls
Cost of insurance (protective put) can be offset
Allows for potential stock appreciation
Limits potential losses

Using Put Options as a Hedging Strategy in Detail

To fully understand how to use put options as a hedging strategy, it’s important to consider their pricing and the factors that can affect their effectiveness.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Hedging benefits: Put options provide downside protection for long stock positions by giving investors the right to sell the stock at a specified price within a certain time frame.
  • Option pricing factors: The pricing of put options is influenced by factors such as downside risk, volatility, and expiration period. More downside risk and longer expiration periods generally result in higher option prices.
  • Strike price considerations: The strike price of a put option determines the price at which the stock can be sold. Higher strike prices offer more price protection but come at a higher cost.
  • Risks and costs: Put options come with risks and costs, including volatility premium, index drift, and time decay. Investors should carefully consider these factors before implementing a hedging strategy.

Using put options as a hedging strategy can provide valuable downside protection for long stock positions, but it’s important to carefully consider the option pricing factors, strike price considerations, and associated risks and costs.

Factors That Impact the Pricing of Options

Understanding the factors that impact the pricing of options is crucial for effectively hedging a long stock position using options. There are several key factors to consider.

options pricing modelFirst, implied volatility plays a significant role in option pricing. Higher implied volatility leads to higher option prices, as it indicates a greater likelihood of large price swings in the underlying stock.

Second, strike price selection is important. Options with higher strike prices tend to be more expensive, as they provide more price protection.

Third, downside risk assessment is crucial. The more downside risk an investor wants to transfer to the seller, the more expensive the hedge will be.

Fourth, time decay is a factor to consider. Options lose value as they approach expiration, so longer expiration periods tend to be more expensive.

Lastly, the volatility premium, which is the difference between implied volatility and realized volatility, can impact option pricing.

It’s important to carefully evaluate these factors when pricing options for hedging a long stock position.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Breakeven Price for a Protective Put Option?

The breakeven price for a protective put option is the strike price minus the premium paid. It is an important consideration in a hedging strategy for a long stock position. Options pricing factors into determining the breakeven price.

How Can the Cost of Insurance for a Put Option Be Offset?

To reduce the cost of insurance for a put option, you can offset it by selling a call option. This strategy, known as an options collar, helps hedge long stock positions and manage risk.

What Is the Downside Risk in the Pricing of Put Options?

The downside risk in option pricing is influenced by factors such as volatility impact and market conditions. Understanding and managing this risk is crucial for effective risk management in options trading.

How Does the Pricing of Options Change as the Expiration Date Approaches?

As the expiration date approaches, the pricing of options is influenced by factors such as implied volatility and time decay. Option pricing models take into account intrinsic value and theta to determine the price.

What Are the Risks and Costs Associated With Using Put Options as a Hedging Strategy?

To hedge your long stock position using put options, you need to be aware of the risks and costs involved. Put option risks include potential loss of premium paid, while hedging costs can be offset by the breakeven price and offsetting insurance cost.


Using options to hedge a long stock position can provide valuable protection against potential losses. The covered call and protective put strategies are common methods that offer different outcomes and advantages.  It’s important to consider the obligations and costs associated with these strategies, as well as the potential benefits of using an options collar to offset insurance costs.

Understanding put options as a hedging strategy and the factors that impact their pricing is also crucial.  With a comprehensive understanding of these techniques, investors can effectively safeguard their long stock positions.

Author: CoachShane
Shane his trading journey in 2005, became a Netpicks customer in 2008 needing structure in his trading approach. His focus is on the technical side of trading filtering in a macro overview and credits a handful of traders that have heavily influenced his relaxed approach to trading. Shane started day trading Forex but has since transitioned to a swing/position focus in most markets including commodities and futures. This has allowed less time in front of the computer without an adverse affect on returns.