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Does my homeowner's insurance policy protect me in the case of identity theft?

Identity theft is a serious crime, and one that is increasing at an alarming rate. Victims should have some way of recovering their financial losses when it happens, but this type of theft is not covered by a basic homeowners insurance policy.

Identity theft coverage is available in most states as an optional endorsement on a homeowner's insurance policy, and it is important to understand the benefit of purchasing this extra coverage.

Identity theft is the taking and using of your name and other personal information, including your home address, date of birth, credit card, and bank account details. If this information is stolen, a criminal can use your personal details to take out a bank loan, to withdraw money from your bank account, or to use your credit card.

More than three million Americans have recently experienced illegal use of their credit cards, according to a recent survey compiled by the US Federal Trade Commission.

Many victims of identity theft have seen unauthorized withdrawals from their personal bank account.

You may think your identity is secure if you shred all your bank statements and credit card receipts, and you take care never to reveal passwords or banking information, but it is relatively easy for a fraudster to obtain enough information about you to steal your identity, using the internet and offline.

Almost fifty percent of personal information used by identity thieves is taken from stolen laptops, lost memory sticks or other portable devices used to store data. A stolen passport, a drivers license, or any personal documentation obtained by theft can be sold on, or used for fraudulent purposes.

Confidential information may also be gathered by fraudsters by making deceptive telephone calls or from establishing personal contact, by sending out fake emails, or using spyware that can be downloaded onto a computer when someone downloads a file, or opens an attachment in an email.

When your identity has been used fraudulently, it can take a lot of time and trouble for you to prove that you are not personally responsible for any loans, debts, large financial transactions or serious crimes carried out by someone else using your identity.

While the fraud is being investigated, you will experience difficulties in obtaining a loan, getting a new credit card, or applying for a mortgage, until it is resolved.

There may be legal costs to be paid, or a loan may be necessary to cover your legal defense, and there will be additional expenses involved in replacing important documents. You may need to take unpaid leave from work during this process, resulting in further loss of earnings.

Having an identity theft endorsement on your Homesite policy ensures that you and your family will be covered up to $15,000 for expenses incurred as the direct result of identity fraud.

Every year more people are becoming victims of identity theft, so it is well worth considering the benefits of paying the additional cost for identity theft coverage, as an endorsement on your homeowners insurance policy.

References
//www.ftc.gov/os/2007/11/SynovateFinalReportIDTheft2006.pdf

//www.id-theftprotect.com/fraud_statistics.php?first=140

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Content provided by Helium Inc. This information is provided for your convenience; it is not indented as insurance advice. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not those of Homesite Group Incorporated.
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