Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Identity Theft Protection and other Identity Theft topics.
With identity theft crimes on the rise, a new batch of monitoring services and insurance coverage plans has followed. But before you start throwing your hard earned cash at agents for these added identity theft protection services, it's in your best interest to find out what coverage and services you already have access to.
Different identity theft monitoring services offer varying levels of monitoring activity. Basic services do nothing more than scan your credit files at one or all of the three major credit reporting agencies, alerting you to any changes. By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year so this is something you can do yourself for free. However, the higher priced services may include monitoring public records and Internet-based financial black markets where thieves buy and sell other people's personal information.
Before investing in an identity theft insurance policy, rifle through the home insurance policy that you already have or call your agent to clarify coverage. Many insurers automatically include identity theft coverage in homeowner policies. If you don't have coverage for ID theft, be thorough in your research before signing up for it. The insurance may cover expenses, such as lost wages and legal fees, but it won't reimburse you for stolen money. When weighing these factors, keep in mind that it is rare that ID theft victims incur any legal fees. Also, many policies exclude payment if a family member commits the crime.
The bottom line is “buyer beware” before you pay for protection from identity theft that you may already have.