What Is a Zero-Cost Collar?

What Is a Zero-Cost Collar?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A zero-cost collar is an options trading strategy that includes the simultaneous purchase and selling of two options, usually a call option and a put option, on the same underlying asset, with the same expiry time.

The aim is to create a profit and loss profile that will incur no cost, hence the name “zero cost.”

In this trading strategy, an investor might purchase an out-of-the-money put option while simultaneously selling an out-of-the-money call option.

The premium collected from selling the call option helps to offset the cost of purchasing the put option.

This is considered to be a risk management technique, as it protects the investor against any potential losses incurred due to market movement while still providing them the opportunity to participate in potential price gains.

However, the trade-off is that opportunities for upside gains are limited beyond the strike price of the call option sold.

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Using the zero-cost collar strategy is common for investors that are looking to protect their long positions once the asset price has appreciated, offering downside protection while remaining invested in the asset.

The combination of both options also perfectly complements each other and leads to limited profitability region, which is handy when positioning yourself in potentially fluctuating markets.

One important factor to consider when using a zero-cost collar strategy is choosing the right strike prices for both options.

Appropriate selection of the strike prices will create a collar, which represents the range of potential payoffs, and ensures that the profitability targeted is achievable without increasing the risk unnecessarily.


The zero-cost collar strategy certainly proves to be useful for investors to protect from potential downside risks while still allowing room for profitability on the upside.

The key lies in research, understanding market movements, and creating a balance between the call and put options so that the desire for protection wouldn’t become an impairment to potential upsides.

Key Takeaways

  • A zero-cost collar is an options trading strategy that involves the purchase of a put option and the sale of a call option on the same underlying asset and with the same expiration date.
  • The primary goal of this strategy is to hedge against potential losses due to market fluctuations while also providing opportunities for upside gains but with limited profitability since the call options cap the upside potential.
  • Zero-cost collars are most often used by investors looking to protect their long positions after the asset price has gone up, offering downside protection while keeping exposure to the asset.
  • The right strike price selection plays an important role in making zero-cost collars highly effective, with the ideal balance lying between the call and put options to allow for proper protection without hindering potential gains.
  • To get the most out of the zero-cost collar strategy, investors must thoroughly research and understand market movements to create a well-balanced collar that caters to their specific needs and risk tolerance levels.

Related Questions

1. How does the zero-cost collar help minimize risks for an investor?

By creating a combined position of buying a put option and selling a call option on the same underlying asset, the collar establishes a range of possible payoffs, which overall minimizes the potential of any significant downside while allowing room for profit.

2. In which scenarios might you consider applying the zero-cost collar strategy?

The zero-cost collar strategy could be ideal for investors seeking protection against a potential decline in a long position on a valued asset after a price appreciation and for instances when future uncapped gains aren’t a primary interest.

3. Will a zero-cost collar always protect the investor from incurring losses?

While a zero-cost collar offers downside protection, it should be noted that profits will be limited as well. Protection works based on the selected-strike prices, and while it minimizes downside risks, the downside protection is limited by the range chosen by the investor.

4. What impact will market volatility have on a zero-cost collar?

Market volatility will result in fluctuations in options prices. In a high market volatility scenario, both put and call options’ premiums might increase, thus making it challenging to achieve the desired zero-cost balance between the two options.

5. Can a zero-cost collar be used for short positions?

Although zero-cost collars are typically applied for long positions, a variation of this strategy can be used for short positions. The difference lies in buying an out-of-the-money call option and selling a similarly valued out-of-the-money put option, thus creating an options spread.