Identity Theft

Most insurers now offer coverage for personal identity theft defense costs as a floater under the personal property insurance. Some policies include a minimum amount of $10,000 and others up to $25,000. You can often purchase an increased limit.

This has become a more common claim in Canada in recent years. Claims are in regard to people using your identity for credit cards, withdrawals from your bank account or even obtaining false identity papers with criminal intent. The coverage is to pay for the legal costs and to help you in the practical sense. If you had to represent yourself in this type of situation you could miss a lot of time from work.

The procedures to restore your "good name" will require the expertise of legal counsel and so without this coverage you find yourself with large out-of-pocket expenses for something that you have not done. Good luck with trying to recover the money spent in small claims court. The thief is likely behind bars or without any funds.

A report by The Identity Theft Resource Center surveyed victims of identity theft and reported the findings in a paper called The Aftermath Study. Here are some of the results:

  • As many as 10 million Americans a year are victims of identity theft.
  • 38-48% of victims find out about the identity theft within three months of it starting.
  • 9-18% of victims take four years or longer to discover that they are victims of identity theft.
  • Victims spend from three to 5,840 hours repairing damage done by identity theft. This difference is due to the severity of the crime - for example a lost credit card versus the use of your social security number to become your "evil twin." The average number of hours victims spend repairing the damage caused by identity theft is 330 hours.
  • 12% of victims end up having warrants issued in their name for financial crimes committed by the identity thief.

Check your policy documents. If you do not see a notation regarding Identity Theft then contact your agent or broker to find out what options are available for you. This type of coverage is usually very inexpensive.