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Bruce Sackrison's Insurance Matters: Protecting yourself with identity theft insurance
Insurance Matters

Bruce Sackrison's Insurance Matters: Protecting yourself with identity theft insurance

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Bruce Sackrison

Bruce Sackrison is a Napa Valley Register columnist who will write about property and casualty insurance matters.

The majority of the population has been affected by identity theft in some way.

Most of us, if we haven’t directly had our own identity stolen, know of someone who has. You’ve probably received emails from a company you had previously done business with, notifying you of compromise due to cybercrime.

Your personal information may have been stolen, and you have no idea if or when someone will use that information against you.

Did you know that you can purchase an endorsement for your homeowners or renters insurance that will help cover some expenses in case of identity theft?

This is a topic you will definitely want to consider and discuss with your agent/broker.

Helmer Boyde was a regular guy who lived in a middle-class neighborhood. He was an essential worker, putting in 9-hour days, six-days-a-week. When Helmer finally settled into his recliner after dinner each evening, he browsed the local sales pages for antique tools.

He liked collecting the old, hand-forged axes and hatchets, vintage saws, and similar handcrafted contraptions.

One evening Helmer found a sale he just couldn’t pass up. It was several states away, but the seller offered to send the tool if Helmer signed up for a specific payment method.

He typed in the typical personal information required for such transactions, and a password that he used for all of his accounts. Helmer never did receive that tool he thought he had purchased.

Instead, he began to receive calls from creditors he didn’t know he had, and bills for things he hadn’t purchased. Things went downhill so quickly, it took Helmer by complete surprise.

He remembered that when he had purchased his homeowners insurance, his agent had talked him into an identity theft endorsement.

His agent had dealt with so many customers who encountered some type of identity theft, it was something he strongly encouraged everyone to add to their renters and homeowners policies.

Helmer contacted his agent and quickly received helpful advice on how to proceed. The insurance didn’t cover the actual purchases that happened as a result of identity theft, but it did pay for a fraud specialist who worked on getting to the root of the problem.

It also took care of replacing government-issued IDs, the cost of any criminal charges or lawsuits up to the policy’s limits, attorney’s fees, etc.

Helmer spent many hours trying to recover most of the money he had lost by calling the creditors and explaining his dilemma. The insurance coverage helped with much of the extra costs involved, for which he was grateful.

If you haven’t considered the importance of this type of insurance, I encourage you to check with your provider to see if it is offered as a part of your basic homeowners/renters policy.

If not, check to see how much an endorsement would cost to add on as a rider. Identity theft can happen to anyone. As always, be prepared.

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Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.

Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.

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