With more than 14 million cases in 2018, identity theft has become a major problem for U.S. consumers. This has left many Americans trying to find ways to protect themselves from this life-altering crime.
Not only can identity theft leave you on the hook to pay for items you haven’t purchased, it can also ruin your credit and make it more difficult to do things like buy a car or home. Fortunately, there are companies out there who offer some protection when your identity is stolen.
If you have questions about identity fraud coverage and how it can help protect you against identity theft, here’s what you should know.
What Is Identity Theft?
When someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud, it is called identity theft. Identity thieves can use the information they steal to apply for credit, file for your tax refund, and even to get medical services. Not only do these actions damage your credit, but they can also cost you the time and money it takes to fix the damage that’s been done.
With so many people getting their identity stolen each year, it’s important that you do all you can to protect your identity. One way is through your homeowner’s insurance policy, which might offer identity fraud coverage.
Do You Need Identity Fraud Coverage on Your Homeowner’s Insurance?
To help combat identity theft, you should consider getting identity fraud coverage as a part of your homeowner’s insurance policy. And while the coverage won’t give you any money back that you lose if someone steals your identity, it can help restore your good name. (To get your money back, you’ll need to talk to your bank, credit card company, or other financial institution that the thieves used to steal your identity.)
How Identity Fraud Coverage Works
To get identity fraud coverage, talk to your insurance company. If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy with them, start by making sure that identity fraud coverage is not already a part of your policy. If it isn’t, discuss adding it to your current policy. If you do not have homeowner’s insurance, many insurance companies offer identity fraud coverage as a standalone policy.
The goal of identity fraud coverage is to reimburse you for some of the expenses associated with restoring your identity and repairing your credit. In addition to identity fraud coverage, you should take steps to keep your identity from being stolen.
Some of the steps you can take to protect your identity include:
- Avoid giving out your personal information to people or companies you don’t know.
- Always keep your wallet and purse on you, and never leave it unattended.
- Store your financial documents in a safe place at home.
- Be careful where you post your information, such as your birthdate, mother’s maiden name, and other personal information online.
- Sign up for online or mobile alerts from your bank and credit card companies so that you can take action immediately if fraudulent activity occurs.
- Stop unsolicited credit card offers to keep thieves from stealing them from your mailbox and using them for identity theft purposes. To do this go to OptOutScreen.com to stop credit bureaus from selling your name to lenders.
- Monitor your accounts to make sure no unscrupulous behavior is going on.
It’s not the end of the world if your identity gets stolen. But, by protecting yourself to begin with by getting identity fraud protection ensures that reclaiming your identity if it does happen is not as costly.