Understanding Naked Options: A Beginner’s Guide

Imagine stepping into the world of financial trading and you come across the term “naked option.” It might sound a bit peculiar, but it’s actually a strategy used by traders in the complex world of options trading. Let’s break it down in simple terms.

What is a Naked Option? 

A naked option is a term used in finance to describe a situation where an investor sells an option without owning the underlying asset or having enough cash to cover potential obligations. In other words, they’re taking a gamble without a safety net, which can be risky.

Naked options can be of two types: calls and puts. A naked call option lets the buyer purchase an underlying asset at a set price before a specific date. The catch? The seller of the naked call doesn’t own the asset and must buy it at the market price if the buyer exercises the option. This exposes the seller to unlimited risk if the asset’s price goes up.

Conversely, a naked put option allows the buyer to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price before a certain date. Here’s the twist: the seller of the naked put lacks the cash to buy the asset if the purchaser decides to exercise the option. This exposes the seller to significant risk if the asset’s price falls.

Why Are Naked Options Risky? 

Naked options are like walking on a tightrope without a safety harness. They are considered risky and speculative because they can lead to substantial losses if the underlying asset doesn’t behave as expected. However, some traders use them to generate income by collecting premiums or to speculate on the asset’s price movement.

For instance, picture a trader selling a naked call option on ABC stock with ₹100 as the strike price and an expiration date of October 31, 2023. The trader receives ₹5 per share as a premium for selling the option. If ABC stock stays below ₹100 by the specified date, the trader keeps the premium as profit. But if the stock rises above ₹100, the trader has to buy it at the market price and sell it to the option buyer at ₹100 per share, potentially resulting in a substantial loss.

Covered vs. Naked Options 

Now, let’s distinguish between covered and naked options. Covered options involve a seller who already owns the underlying asset or holds a position in the market that offsets the risk of the option. In contrast, naked options involve a seller who doesn’t have a comparable stake in the underlying asset.

For example, if Investor A owns 100 or more shares of Stock A and sells a call option on that stock, it’s considered a covered call option. But if the seller doesn’t own enough shares to cover the option, it’s a naked call option. The same logic applies to put options.


In summary, naked options can be a high-stakes game in the world of finance, where the seller takes on substantial risk for a potentially modest reward. While it may seem daring, some traders choose this path in their quest for profit and adventure in the financial markets. Just remember, with great risk comes the potential for great reward – and equally great losses. So, proceed with caution and a thorough understanding of the game if you decide to venture into the world of naked options.


What are the benefits of selling naked options?

Selling naked options can generate income from the premiums received by the seller. It can also allow the seller to profit from the time decay and volatility of the option, as the option loses value as it approaches expiration. 

What are the drawbacks of selling naked options?

Selling naked options can expose the seller to unlimited or significant risk if the underlying asset’s price moves against the seller’s expectation. The seller may have to buy or sell the underlying asset at an unfavorable price or pay a large amount to close the option position.

How can I reduce the risk of selling naked options?

One way to reduce the risk of selling naked options is to use stop-loss orders or hedging strategies to limit the potential loss. Another way is to sell options that are far out-of-the-money (OTM), which have a lower probability of being exercised, but also a lower premium. 


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.