Buying calls is the best way to acquire stock when you think the price will go up mid to long term but the price movement is not clear short-term. For example, I would never buy tanker stocks right now, but I sure as hell did get calls. My maximum losses are $500 total. Had I bought, I would have lost $2000 by holding onto the corresponding underlying already. If tankers go the way I think they will, I'll have massive returns on this, and will then be able to sell calls for even more money.
Selling puts is great when you're fairly sure the price is going up but the stock is a bit overvalued: you want in, but not for that much. If you don't hit your strike, you just reduced your cost basis, eventually your cost basis will be low enough to buy in at market. If you are right and it dips, you get cheap stock. However, if you're wrong about the longer term, you get screwed really hard.
Selling covered calls is much safer because you'll always at least make money, just not as much as you could.
Buying puts is the best way to protect your investment longterm. Depending on parameters, it can often be much better than a stop loss (premium lower than cost basis - stop target).
In conclusion, you are completely wrong not to buy options.
Selling an itm strike is a good way to sell your stocks and make a little extra on the side, but you never "know" if you will be exercised, that's up to the buyer. However, if the price goes down, chances are you can roll down your covered call for extra credit.