One alternative to a covered call is a bull spread. You give up some premium in exchange for significantly reducing your downside risk. I bought SPY 118 May calls at 3.91 and sold 121 May calls at 1.82 for a net debit of 2.09. SPY was right at 121 at the time, so the the 121 calls were right at the money–which is the maximum premium point (the 120 and 122 calls had about .45 less premium). Maximum profit on this trade is 0.91, maximum loss is the debit amount — 2.09.