Just this past summer a client had their identity stolen while on an eight-day vacation in the Caribbean. It happened on their second day away, and if hadn’t been for their homeowners insurance, their vacation would have been devastated, to say the least. The insurance company handled 99% of the legwork to get their credit restored and by the fourth day their credit was restored and the rest of their Caribbean vacation continued without a hitch.
Is identity theft protection really worth it?
Let’s put it in a bit of perspective. The average cost to restore your credit can range between $7,000-$15,000, and if you enjoy doing the legwork on your own it can take an average of 25-30 days to get it restored. Most of the time, this extra protection can be added to your homeowners policy for as little $20 per year. Now ask yourself again: is it really worth it?
What does identity theft insurance cover?
Coverage pays the cost to restore your credit back to the way it was which in itself can be costly and time consuming. It doesn’t replace what was stolen since the credit card or bank typically assumes that loss.
How does this coverage work?
If your company offers identity theft coverage in your homeowners policy, they will also have a hot-line you can call to report the theft. Immediately, they will:
- assess your situation for fraud
- make all necessary calls to banks, agencies and creditors
- help you replace documents (driver’s license, passport, social security card, and other IDs)
- provide emergency cash advance if away from home
- provide up to $25,000 in recovery for expense reimbursement (often with no deductible)
Other things you can do to prevent identity theft
Get extra protection for your computer
Some companies will provide additional coverage for your computer. You will receive online data protection against phishing or other malicious threats.
1. DataScramblerTM protects your keystrokes from being monitored.
2. PhishBlockTM warns you if you attempt to access a phishing site. This optional service works with your anti-virus software and can be downloaded and installed on your computers in your home
Get free credit monitoring with your homeowners insurance company
Most insurance companies provide credit monitoring to customers who pay for the optional coverage. You will get email alerts on any changes in your credit patterns which is also free to a anyone in your home.
Preventing identity theft saves time and money so focus on establishing this coverage instead.
**Disclaimer- Not all companies offer it, and the companies that do, differ in coverage and protection, so check with your homeowners insurance.