By Mike Loo, Independent Financial Advisor
With the recent Equifax data breach, a lot of my Decision Coach clients have been inquiring about identity theft insurance. Many are frustrated that they will have to pay to protect their information when they never even gave these companies permission to use their information in the first place.
While it can be frustrating to spend your hard-earned money on something that you feel you should not have to pay for, it’s better than the alternative. Would you be more frustrated having to deal with the issues of becoming a victim of identity theft?
Why You Should Consider Identity Theft Insurance
In 2016 alone, 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft. That is one out of every sixteen adults in only one year.1 I constantly hear that when it comes to identity theft, it is no longer a matter of “if” you become a victim, but “when.”
With that perspective, you shouldn’t only try to protect yourself from identity theft, but prepare to protect yourself when it does happen as well. That’s where identity theft insurance comes into play.
When your identity is stolen, it can damage your credit score and it can take months or even years to get your credit records corrected. It can affect your ability to get credit, take out loans, or even qualify for a job. Fixing the damage caused by identity theft can be a long and arduous process ranging from a matter of weeks to several years.
Identity theft insurance will reimburse you for the cost of restoring your identity and repairing your credit report. That includes expenses such as phone bills, notary and certified mailing costs, lost wages, and even sometimes attorney fees. Some policies also offer restoration or resolution services.
Resolution Vs. Restoration
Resolution and restoration are two terms that sound similar but have very different meanings when it comes to identity theft insurance. When researching your insurance options, you need to read carefully to know which one you are signing up for.
If your insurance offers resolution, they will guide you through the process of restoring your identity. They will tell you what to do, but you will need to do all the work yourself.
Restoration is when your insurance company does all of the work for you. You can save yourself the time and emotional energy that it takes to restore your identity because they are the ones who do it all.
Identity Theft Insurance Options
Here are several of the carriers that you may consider when shopping for insurance:
Lifelock is consistently ranked high amongst insurance providers. They offer identity protection, recovery services, theft insurance and 24/7 support.
They have a plan that enables you to monitor all 3 credit bureaus for $29.95 a month or only 1 for $19.95 a month. The downside is that children are not covered. Your kids will cost an additional $5.99 a month per child with your adult membership.
LegalShield has been in business for over 41 years and they started their IDShield division in 2001. They provide individual and family plans, monitoring services, recovery services, and a service guarantee.
LegalShield is great for families because you can cover yourself, your spouse, and up to 8 children for only $19.95 a month. The downside is that they only monitor your credit through TransUnion and none of the other major credit bureaus.
If you’re a Costco member, this may be the one for you. With the Costco Executive Membership, you can get rates as low as $8.99 a month per member and $2.99 a month per child. Without a membership, it’s $19.99 a month per person.
They offer identity monitoring, fraud detection, support, and resolution. However, there seems to have been negative customer feedback with the customer service departments and the company in general.
Making A Decision
As you can see, there is no one perfect identity theft insurance program. Each has its pros and cons that need to be taken into consideration. However, any of these insurance options is better than having none at all. The last thing you want to do is become a victim without any insurance in place at all.
If you have questions about identity theft and choosing an insurance provider, I’d love to help. Call my office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email me at email@example.com so we can make sure you have something in place to protect you and your family if you become a victim of identity theft.
About Mike Loo
Mike Loo is an independent financial advisor with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. His mission is to provide a meaningful impact on the lives of clients and the people they care most about, help them make educated decisions with their money, and build a strong financial foundation for both themselves and their next generation. Mike is committed to meeting a high standard of excellence, taking the time to listen to clients’ needs, and designing strategies that aim to help clients save money and reduce debt. He seeks to fit a client’s investments into their life and educate them so they’ll understand their investments. To learn more about how Mike may be able to help, connect with him on LinkedIn, call his office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.