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According to a story on the local news here in Tampa last night, the expert didn’t think the insurance was worth the money and recommended that you use a credit monitoring service and monitor your credit yourself.

According to Market Watch, March 31st, before buying such protection, experts warn consumers should find out what the particular policy covers, experts say: When you wreck your car or set your house on fire, auto and homeowners insurance cover the repairs. When a fraudster drains your bank account, identity-theft insurance doesn’t replenish it — your bank’s zero-liability policies should take care of that. Nor can some variations of the product, advertised as crediting monitoring and protection services, actually insulate you from a hack.

Experts say consumers searching for protection may find ID-theft insurance falls way short. The insurance, which is commonly tacked onto an existing home, auto, and travelers policies, costs between $25 and $60 annually, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That figure increases if you purchase it separately.

Such policies cover expenses people might accrue while repairing their credit record, like the cost of postage, phone calls, lost wages (if you need time off work), and legal bills. But the chances of facing out-of-pocket costs are slim: 80% of the 12.6 million victims in 2012 didn’t incur any, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research survey.

Some policies also connect victims with a case manager to help them clean up the mess. In the vast majority of identity theft cases, though, that process means a simple call to the bank. For 85% of victims in 2012, the identity theft they experienced involved misuse of an existing credit card or bank account. It took more than half of victims a day or less to resolve problems, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In some ways, buying ID-theft insurance is like hiring a wedding planner. You can pay someone to call florists and caterers, and in this case, contact your bank to cancel a card, or you can do it yourself.

“People shouldn’t be mesmerized by the insurance that may be provided. It’s more important to look at how the service actually works and what it does for you. “Are you looking for somebody, for instance, who’s going to do everything for you if you have a problem, or are you confident that if somebody gives you advice, you’d just be able to do it yourself?”

There are a number of protections people can get for free. For instance, credit experts recommend consumers set up custom alerts with their banks and credit card companies to receive emails or texts for transactions. People should also review their online statements daily and check their credit reports from each of the three bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, once every 12 months. And consumers can put a “security freeze” on their account with the credit bureaus for a small fee (usually less than $10), which can help prevent a fraudster from opening a new line of credit in your name. Or people can sign up for free fraud alerts, which require businesses to take extra steps to verify your identity before opening new accounts or increasing a credit limit.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida. For more information, go to our web site or call 727-335-7151.