Now that earnings for many banks are on the upswing, anxiety about bank failures has dipped substantially from where it was a year or two ago. But given the likelihood that some institutions will close this year, you might wonder to what extent depositors at those banks are at risk. Say your bank is shuttered by regulators tomorrow. What will happen to your money?

Under the current banking system, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures the first $100,000 you have in a given bank, no matter how many different accounts you might have. Beyond that sum, however, you'd be out of luck in all but a few instances.

If you have serious concerns about the safety of your deposits, you could, of course, divide your money among a number of banks. But it's also possible to buy additional insurance that will pick up where the FDIC coverage leaves off.

The coverage, newly offered by General Star Management (an A++ rated subsidiary of General Reinsurance), of Stamford, Conn., is being sold through independent property and casualty agents around the country. Currently, says Joe Carlson, president of Centrex Underwriters, in Memphis, which administers the product (called Depositsure), the carrier is prepared to write policies on deposits at around 80% of the nation's 12,000-odd banks. Initially, however, it will impose a per-bank limit of $5 million to create as much risk diversification as possible. The price of the insurance -- around .25% of the amount being covered, or $250 per $100,000 -- may seem steep. But for those who can't stomach the thought of losing their cash, it's a reasonable price for peace of mind.

For more information about the coverage, call 800-723-3893.