Did You Know That Identity Theft Can Be Prevented?
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It affects over 9 million people each year, costing victims both time and money to try to clean up the mess. As a result, a number of insurance companies have begun offering identity theft insurance, designed to offer financial compensation to victims to help reimburse them for any money they have lost out-of-pocket. Some also provide compensation for lost wages as a result of having to deal with this crime, including having to review credit reports and talk to creditors. You can also be reimbursed for phone bills, notary and certified mailing costs, fees for reapplying for loans that were declined due to bad credit information, and even attorney fees in some cases.
While you can buy identity theft insurance as a stand alone product, some insurance companies now offer it as an endorsement to your homeowners' or renters' insurance policy. Some companies have gone further, and will include it as part of your comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. In general, these policies cost around $50 for each $15,000 to $25,000 worth of coverage annually.
Is identity theft insurance worth it? When deciding if this coverage is right for you, it is important to remember that victims of this type of crime are not responsible for the debts incurred by the identity thief. You are however, left with having to clean up the mess, restoring your credit, and dealing with countless phone calls and paperwork. This type of insurance may be worth it for you if you are self-employed or have difficulty getting time off from work.
But you should remember that having this type of insurance does not mean that your credit is protected. An identity thief can still do damage to your credit. The insurance simply means that you have a safety net in case your case is so large that it eats into your available time, forcing you to use vacation or other time off. Identity theft insurance cannot fix or repair your credit, cannot raise your credit score, and cannot clean up a criminal record resulting from fraudulent use of your name and identity.
Take care, also, to ask your insurance provider about limits on the amount of lost wage reimbursement available, as well as whether there are any deductibles. Most policies only pay about $500 per week in reimbursements and do have a deductible associated with each claim, up to $1000 in some cases. There may also be a cap on the total amount of lost wages that will be paid.
Educating yourself on the methods identity thieves use and how to protect your information is your best defense against identity theft. If you feel that you would be unable to absorb the estimated cost of about $1,000 to clean up your credit and good name and do not have the available time, then this type of insurance may be a good buy for you. Otherwise, you may be better off doing the work yourself and saving the annual premium.
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