The massive Equifax data breach that recently occurred continues to be in the news. If you have a credit report, there’s a good likelihood that you may be among the 143 million American consumers, who had their sensitive personal information compromised.
Check your credit file
If you haven’t yet checked if you were impacted, visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the “Am I Impacted?” button at the lower left of the page.
Be aware of insurance impacts of freezing credit
Due to the breach, many are recommending that people put a freeze on their credit. We aren't making a pro or con recommendation because it's a personal decision based on your situtation. However, while it certainly is something to consider, freezing your credit accounts can have potential ramifications related to new insurance quotes and renewals depending on the insurance company. For homeowner policies, your credit score/insurance score can be used as a rating factor. For Massachusetts auto insurance policies, credit scores are not allowed to be part of insurance rating; however, this factor is allowed in other states.
Each insurance carrier has different requirements regarding insurance/credit scores when evaluating a client.
If unable to pull a credit score on a new insurance request or renewal, some carriers use a default score which is a “neutral” rating factor. If you have a good credit score, a freeze could negatively impact your rates because the company can’t see the positive information…resulting in you missing out on a preferred rate. Other carriers require a score, which could require you to contact the credit company to temporarily remove the freeze, and delay the quote process.
Before you make the decision to freeze your credit, think about the possible impacts. Again, freezing credit may be a prudent decision; however, it's important to understand other potential impacts, so that you ensure your not being impacted in other ways. If you have frozen your credit, inquire with your agent as to how this might be impacting your insurance. If you have any questions about our carriers’ standards, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Identity theft protection
The issues of cyber security and data hacks are something that are now a constant part of our world. Individually, we must stay vigilant to protect our personal information from phishing scams. Yet, even if we do everything we can, the specter of large data breaches such as the Equifax breach can put information and identities at risk.
If your identity is stolen, you will have to expend significant effort to resolve the crisis. Not only does this involve time, but there may be expenses. Most home/condo/renter insurance policies offer an option to purchase identity theft protection that can provide assistance should you experience identity theft. The coverage typically costs about $25. The benefits vary between companies but typically provide such services as:
- Systematic notification to credit bureaus, creditors and collectors, government agencies, police and other relevant parties.
- Assistance in preparation of documents and phone calls needed to resolve your identity theft, including placing fraud alerts.
- Assistance filing a police report, creating a fraud victim affidavit, plus a comprehensive case file to assist law enforcement and claims handling.
- Credit monitoring
If you’d like to add this coverage to your policy, your agent would be glad to assist you. Just contact us.