What to know about identity theft insurance

Victims of identity theft can be left with a bad credit record that can take months to correct. Here’s what you need to know about identity theft insurance and how to protect yourself.

1 You may be covered "protect yourself"

Some homeowners policies include coverage for identity theft. Check your policy or ask your agent to see if yours does. Other companies can add it to your homeowners or renter's policy or sell you a stand-alone policy. These typically cost $25-$50 a year. Some credit monitoring services also provide identify theft protection or help with recovery.

2 What it includes

Identity theft insurance pays you back for what you spend to restore your identity and repair your credit. These costs can include fees, phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs, and sometimes attorney fees. Some policies include credit monitoring and alerts and help you start the process to restore your identity. As with any insurance policy, make sure to know exactly what you’re purchasing and be sure to ask about deductibles and policy limits.

3 Is it worth it?

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that 7 percent of Americans were the victims of identity theft in 2014. Of those, half said it cost them less than $100, and 14 percent said they lost $1,000 or more. Banks and credit card companies already cover most or all losses due to fraud so most victims’ spend more time than money restoring their identity. However, complex cases can mean attorney's fees and lost wages if you need to take off work, which could be covered by an identity theft policy.

4 How to protect yourself

You can take steps to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Be aware of your setting when you’re entering a credit card number or providing one over the phone. Make sure strangers can’t see or hear you.
  • Always tear up applications for "pre-approved" credit cards you get in the mail. Criminals may use them and try to activate the cards.
  • Never respond to unsolicited email that requests identifying data.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission website for more tips and recovery resources.

 

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Last updated: 05/04/2017

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