Building on a critical literature review, this paper addresses questions around the potential complementarities of informal risk sharing arrangements (IRSA) and climate risk insurance (CRI). For doing so, it investigates existing forms of IRSA as well as its advantages and challenges in the context of building climate resilience. Similarly, CRI is examined regarding its potential to sufficiently address the impacts of sudden onset risks for communities. Based on these insights, the paper then looks at the possibility and probability of both instruments working together as part of a comprehensive risk management strategy.