According to a July 2015 US News and World Report article, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Almost 10 million incidents are reported each year, with the average cost to the victim to be around $500 and 30 hours of time.
In addition to the time and cost involved with getting your identity back, there can be a long-term negative impact on your credit score. This can take longer to resolve and could have far-reaching negative consequences as it impacts not only your ability to obtain a loan, your vehicle and homeowner’s insurance rates, and sometimes even your ability to get a job.
With this relatively high degree of risk exposure (there are 19 identity theft victims per minute!), consider insurance to protect yourself should you become a victim of identity theft.
What will Identity Theft Insurance cover?
Identity theft insurance may cover the costs of credit alerts, account and credit monitoring, and reimbursement of the money spent to fix your credit history.
Some companies also offer restoration or resolution services to help you through the process of recovering your identity.
How do I get Identity Theft Insurance?
A standard Homeowner’s or Renter’s policy may cover the theft of credit cards or cash up to a certain amount, but do not cover identity theft.
Additional coverage for identity theft can be added to many homeowner’s policies or purchased as a stand-alone policy.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, additional identity theft coverage typically costs around $25 to $60 per year and has benefit limits ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 with deductibles from $100 to $500.
6 Tips for Protecting Your Identity
In addition to considering an insurance policy to help in case you become a victim of identity theft, here are some ways to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Follow best practices when generating passwords to protect your email, financial accounts and any other e-commerce sites you frequent. Use a tool like LastPass to help manage passwords instead of simply using the same password on all your accounts.
- Be on the lookout for email phishing scams. Don’t click on links within emails that look suspicious and definitely do not submit any personal information, usernames, passwords, or financial information to pages linked in any random email.
- Purchase good anti-spyware/malware software for your computer and make sure any personal mobile devices that you use are also protected.
- Keep the amount of personal and identifying information that you carry on your person to the bare minimum necessary. Don’t carry multiple credit cards or a checkbook if you don’t absolutely need them.
- Actively monitor your accounts including credit card statements and bank accounts. You can do this yourself or pay a service to do this on your behalf.
- Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies and verify that there is no suspicious activity. Even if your identity is intact, an estimated 20% of Americans’ credit reports contain a mistake!
Protect your identity – contact us with your questions and we’ll be sure to provide solutions that match your risk.