Do I Really Need Identity Theft Insurance?

Many credit card companies and banks are seeing the need to offer identity theft insurance to their customers. Some offer it free, while others charge for it. Whether you can afford to or not to have identity theft insurance depends on a few factors:

If it is a free service offered by a new card, read the fine print. Metaphorically there is no such thing as a free lunch so the company may be fleecing you with an annual fee or a higher interest rate or some other marketing gimmick. But if you find out that they are not, by all means enroll in the program.

If there is a fee, weigh the pros and cons. If you are already behind on payments and have maxed out several cards already, it might be wise to stay away from another fee until you are out of the red. After all, you probably won’t be the ideal candidate for an identity theft as you don’t have much of a limit to spend on your cards. However, once your finances are in better shape, reconsider your options so that all your efforts on restoring your credit do not go to waste

Decide on the limit of identity theft insurance you need. If you are not a millionaire with yachts and Rolls Royce’s, you probably do not need a million dollars in identity theft insurance. Your banker may be able to devise a good limit for you based on your income and expenses

What does Identity Theft Insurance Include?

Read what the identity theft insurance will cover. Does it cover lost or stolen credit cards and online purchases you have not authorized? How soon will they be able to figure out a possible identity theft? If so, what will cause red flags to be raised and how will they handle it? Does the identity theft insurance cover international purchases? If so, do you need to tell the bank you are traveling?

How are checking accounts and ATM transactions covered under identity theft insurance? It is up to the customer to keep a non-obvious PIN. Foe example, if someone steals your wallet. They can easily find your birth date on your driver’s license. I your PIN is your birth month and year or day and month, he will have hit the jackpot in a maximum number of two tries.

Some banks have alert services where a customer service representative calls the customer if they see some activity on the account that is far from ordinary. A high school student withdrawing $3000 in cash in one night or a 75 year old senior citizen in a nursing home spending $2000 on surfing equipment may warrant a call.

If you do get such a call, consider yourself in good hands. Verify the purchases as soon as possible and thank the company for letting you know.

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