Home Insurance Could Protect You From Identity Theft
If your home is burglarized this summer, you may lose more than your electronics and jewelry. You may also lose your identity. Fortunately, you can get insurance to help you recover some of the costs to restore your identity and repair credit reports. Some insurers offer this protection as part of their homeowners policy, while others offer it as a stand-alone policy or a rider to your regular home insurance policy. Ask about how you can protect your identity from thieves, when you get a home insurance quote.
More than nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. Armed with your information, identity thieves may be able to rent an apartment, obtain credit cards, establish a telephone account, open a bank account, or even get a loan. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement, and notice charges you did not make. Or you may not find out about the theft, until a debt collector contacts you.
Generally, you are only liable for the first $50 the thief spends on each of your credit cards. However, you wind up spending hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to your reputation and credit record. Some victims may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit. Losing your identity can be costly and aggravating. If you want to protect yourself against identity theft in your home, ask about this coverage when you get an insurance quote.
Most burglaries occur in July and August, when homeowners are away on vacation, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Once a burglar is in you home, he may be able to easily access your credit card information, Social Security numbers, and other personal information. He can look through your mail, bills, bank statements, credit card statements, tax documents, and or other papers containing your personal information. He can also access personal information on your family’s computer.
To protect your personal information, store important documents in a safety deposit box in a bank or other secure location. Don’t leave papers in your desk or home office. And when you’re away, make sure to turn off your computer and disconnect it from the Internet. If you save personal information in your computer, make sure it is difficult to access. You do not want to leave your personal information vulnerable to a hacker, while you are on vacation.
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for theft of personal possessions and damage to the home caused by the break-in. Insurance is also available for identity theft. Homeowners can be reimbursed for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing their credit reports. Some insurers offer this protection as part of their homeowners insurance policy. Others sell it as a stand-alone policy or as an endorsement to a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Typical policies cost between $25 and $65 a year for $25,000 to $30,000 worth of coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Identity theft insurance reimburses the policyholder for expenses such as phone bills, lost wages, notary and certified mailing costs and sometimes attorney fees with the prior consent of the insurer. Some companies offer resolution or restoration services that will help you recover your identity.
Remember when you buy a homeowners policy, you’re insuring the structure of your home and your personal belongings in your home. Once you have determined the best coverage for your family’s needs, you’re ready to obtain a home insurance quote. Call agents in your local area, contact several insurance companies directly or use InsuranceQuotes.com to instantly get a competitive insurance quote from the nation’s leading insurance providers. Take the time to protect you and your family today.