While traveling might look a little differently this year, it's always smart to be prepared.
Traveling throughout 2020 has been such a strange and unique experience, and hasn't looked like anything we've ever seen before. For most, traveling has become something we've put on the back burner and will come back to once it's safe to do so again. However, even with that in mind, the most important thing to remember is that traveling as we've always known it will be back again. We will be able to enjoy every aspect of traveling again someday soon and will be enjoying our regularly scheduled vacation plans again. For now, it's just on pause. Until then, since we all have a little time on our hands, it's a great time to learn a little bit more about the many ways to keep you and your family safe the next time you're on your dream vacations. While you're dreaming about packing up your favorite overnight bag and the stack of books you want to read by the pool, we encourage you to start adding travel insurance to those thoughts and considerations.
One of our favorite topics is, of course, insurance, and it applies to every aspect of your life. In the spirit of celebrating the joy of travel and counting down the days until your next (safe) big trip, we wanted to chat about the truths and misconceptions of travel insurance. Myths and misconceptions on any topic are a dangerous road to go down. They can, sadly, cause hundreds of well-meaning people and travelers to make some not so smart decisions. Thanks to these myths floating around out there, travel insurance has gotten a pretty bad reputation that it's not needed and that it's a waste of time and money. Please know that these myths and misconceptions are called that for a reason and have been getting in the way of guaranteeing safe and fantastic trips for millions of people every year. Also keep in mind that if you are planning on traveling internationally, travel insurance is a necessity, and we wouldn't ever recommend getting on a plane without it.
Myth: My credit card offers plenty of protection while I'm traveling, and I won't need any more protection than that!
Fact: First and foremost, your travel credit cards only cover a few basic things, and in almost every situation they won't cover much if any healthcare if you get sick or injured while you're out of the country. If you're traveling inside of the United States, it still is very much the same. While your healthcare will be out of network while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home, most likely, it will still be better than traveling globally without any health insurance. If you choose to rely on your travel credit card as your travel insurance while you're away from home, please call and speak with your credit card company first, just so you know exactly what protection you'll have, if any! Even the best travel credit cards out there offer little more than protection for stolen items, loss of baggage, or a canceled trip. While some medical expenses could be covered, the coverage limit will be very low. The amount you could be spending out of pocket could be huge, and much more than you would be paying for a travel insurance plan. We urge you to speak with us or your insurance provider about some travel insurance on top of the protection your credit card offers. This way your medical needs, if by chance something does happen when you're away, can be taken care of much more affordably.
Myth: Travel insurance doesn't cover pre-existing conditions.
Fact: This is a moment where we need to pause and have you read the fine print on any travel insurance package. If you have a pre-existing condition, and you were healthy and stable before the start of your trip, travel insurance will help cover you for things you might need if something happens due to your pre-existing condition while you're traveling. If you need more medication or need to see a doctor because of it, travel insurance will help taking care of you with ease. When planning out a trip and you choose to sit down and talk with us at Abri or with your current insurance provider, make sure you pick an appropriate travel insurance plan with your specific needs and with your condition in mind. According to AAA, they encourage people to remember that the term "pre-existing" can be much broader than many people realize. Don't just dismiss the idea that your condition isn't included under the pre-existing bubble. Make sure to do your research! Also, please don't wait to get coverage for your pre-existing condition added to your travel insurance plan. You will need to apply for it between 10 days and a month of booking your trip, according to AAA.
Myth: Travel insurance is too expensive!
Fact: Remember, as we've mentioned before, if you get sick or injured 100 miles or more away from your home or when you're outside of the country, it can cost you much more than what you'll end up paying out of pocket for your travel insurance policy. According to AAA, travel insurance will cost 5-8% of your trips overall cost. So, yes, the more your trip costs the more you will be paying for insurance. However, if you can't pay the out-of-pocket expenses if your trip is canceled, if you have to rebook your flight or hotel last minute, then travel insurance is the way to go. In any of these last-minute situations, your travel insurance will be able to give you the protection you need financially and for your mental well being.
Myth: I have great health insurance already, so that will cover me on my trip! Travel insurance and health insurance are the same things, anyway.
Fact: This is a very big issue that's found across the board, and it is also a very false statement. Your personal health insurance won't provide protection or support with trip interruption, trip cancellation, damaged possessions, stolen items, lost items, emergency evacuation, or if there is a natural disaster where you've chosen to vacation and you're now dealing with the situation as an expatriate. Travel insurance, on the other hand, does. Also, while your health insurance might cover "customary" and "reasonable" expenses when you're abroad, most of your other costs won't be covered, according to AAA. This can happen when you're simply out of network when you're traveling in the US, too. Also, Medicare does not cover chargers that happen outside of the United States. So, if you have to be moved to a different doctor or specialist while you're traveling abroad (also called medical evacuation) it will not be covered under Medicare and nor will your other medical related issues. Also, if you're using insurance through your employer while traveling, you might be the only one it covers during your trip. While your spouse or child might be covered under this insurance while you're at home, this might not be the cause while you're traveling. This could put your loved ones at serious risk while traveling if all you have is your normal health insurance with you during your trip and not travel insurance.
Myth: I'm incredibly healthy and I'm a very safe person. Nothing will happen to me or my belongings while I'm traveling!
Fact: While you might be healthy and safe, there is so much about life and other people that you cannot control when it comes to traveling and what could happen. So much of what could happen during a trip that could put you in danger or cause you to leave and head back home because of an emergency has nothing to do with how healthy you are or how safe you live your life. You don't have control over the weather, over a canceled flight, or if someone chooses to steal your belongings or passport. Don't assume either, that even if you're just traveling over a short period that you're safe from these disasters. One bad day, one bad storm, or the loss of all your luggage in a matter of one flight can happen when you least expect it. There is no amount of specific time between when a disaster can and cannot happen!
We hope we've put your traveling plans in a new perspective after reading this blog! During these unknown times where traveling is already a gamble, travel insurance shouldn't be a question. Be prepared, travel safely, and make sure to put travel insurance at the top of your to-do list when making plans for your next trip. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out and chat with us! We are here for all of your insurance needs and questions! We are excited to work with you and love being a part of the Summerville community!
The dawning of November means the beginning of open enrollment. If you are new to the process or you're looking to make it a much easier process than you've experienced, that is what this blog is all about!
While the idea of turkey and stuffing is on the minds of most of our readers, November is an incredibly busy month for us and it has nothing to do with picking out what sides to match our turkey or the perfect pumpkin pie. While these are things we still make time for and hope you get a ton of enjoyment out of, November for all of us at Abri means one thing; Open Enrollment! While we want you to enjoy the most out of your Thanksgiving and the last bit of fall here in Summerville, if your insurance plan is expiring and you will be needing new health insurance coverage, we hope you make open enrollment one of your priorities over the next month. We are here to help you through every step of this process and want to make it an extremely pain-free experience. That is why we wanted to dedicate this blog to multiple ways on how you can make it a pain-free process and what some of the best ways to handle open enrollment are. Don't stress, you've got this!
Open enrollment for 2021 began on November 1st and it ends on December 15th. Every year you only have a little over a month to search for, research, and choose your next best healthcare plan. Just a tad overwhelming. For our readers new to the blog and the insurance world, you might be curious about what open enrollment actually is. According to the dictionary, open enrollment is "a period of time during which one may freely enroll in or change one's selection of health insurance plan or other benefit programs that is ordinarily subject to restrictions." The short version is that your health insurance plan is expiring and it's time to get a new one. Sounds relatively easy, right? Well, we are here to make it as simple and as easy for our clients as we possibly can. Sadly, this is not the case for everyone.
Enrollment is a short period that pushes people to pick their plans very rapidly and has also been created to limit adverse selection. What makes it hard, even when you know all year that you have a short period to buy your plan, getting information about what your options are and what's available to you can be difficult to find or very confusing. That's where we can come in. If you are looking for an independent plan on the marketplace and outside of what your employers may or may not be offering, we can search the whole market with you and your family's needs and best intentions in mind. This can help you save time, save stress, save money, and help guarantee that all of you and your family's needs will be taken care of.
While you begin your journey and begin the search for health insurance, we wanted to provide you with a list of tips and suggestions on what to be thinking about and what to avoid while you're searching in the market.
Now that you've read through this blog, are you feeling better about open enrollment? Regardless if you are or not, please remember that we are here to help. We know that you have many difficult questions to ask yourself to make sure you and your family are covered and cared for. We are here to do the rest of the heavy lifting once those decisions are made. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us now before open enrollment closes! We are excited to work with you and love being a part of the Summerville community!
No matter if you're enjoying the safer side of vacationing in 2020 or living out your dreams of traveling in your golden years, your beloved RV needs the best insurance possible to keep you and your travel dreams safe.
2020 might not have been the year for vacations, but there have still been some ways to (safely) get out of the house with any real dangers or worries. One of the best ways to travel now is by RV! Thankfully with so many places to drive to in the United States, we have been able to travel and see some of our favorite and new favorite places from the comfort of our own mini living rooms. While some people only use their RVs for vacation purposes and others live in them full time, these vehicles, no matter their size, still need insurance. Do you have the proper coverage or do you have questions about what this coverage can give you? This is what we are going to be discussing in our blog today!
First of all, you might want to know what RV insurance is. It is the agreement you've made with your insurance provider to pay an agreed-upon monthly amount to provide coverage and protection for your RV if damage or harm comes to you, your vehicle, or others. This insurance covers a wide range of vehicles from camper vans to converted buses to your travel campers and motor homes.
Like any other standard insurance that you can buy, you can pick and choose from a variety of coverage plans depending on the size and type of your RV, what you use it for, and more. There are two basic types of RV insurance, one is if you use your RV for recreational use, and the other is when you use your RV as your permanent residence. RV insurance will cover Class A, B, and C vehicles. While this is a plan that you and your insurance agent will pick together, the more you add to your plan to cover your RV, the more expensive it will become. If you have any questions about your RV or your current coverage, please don't hesitate to reach out and talk with us!
As we mentioned above, there are two different types of insurance based on how you use your RV. The first type, Recreational Insurance, is just for those who use their RV for vacation. Full-timers insurance is dedicated to those who live in their RV full time and consider it their permanent residence. Coverage for full-timers is closer to homeowner's insurance if you choose. You can add additional coverage for personal liability and loss assessment. Here are a few things to know about what to expect in your coverage:
What does RV insurance cover? This is a very important question to ask your insurance company when you're in the market. You will be looking at a plan that does multiple things for you!
We mentioned previously that there is an opportunity to add more options and coverage to your RV. We do suggest that when building your plan that you include all the coverage we have listed above. However, when it comes to this next list, it all depends on you, your personal needs, and your insurance agent. Again, please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you'd like to discuss your options or begin creating the perfect plan for your needs.
How is your current RV insurance looking now that you've read this blog? Are you feeling confident about your next trip or are you feeling even more nervous from when you started your research? Don't panic! Now that you know this information, you know what to think about and talk about when you give us a call. We are here for you and your RV, so gas it on up and give us a visit!
Even as hurricane season begins to wind down, that doesn't mean we will be seeing the rain or tides clear up in the Charleston area anytime soon. To help ease your questions or doubts if flood insurance is right for you, here are 5 of the top flood insurance myths, debunked.
Welcome back to the blog! We are thrilled that you are wanting to continue your education about the world of insurance and that you want to learn more, in particular, about flood insurance. We're sure you've heard time and time again that you should be considering or looking into purchasing flood insurance, and being an insurance company ourselves, we do agree with this sentiment. Sure, here in the Lowcountry, you'll be hearing this much more often than you would in most other places. With three popular beaches, at least two main rivers, and countless creeks, this just comes with the territory. If your home is on or near the ocean or the rivers here in the Lowcountry, it should come as no surprise that you should already have flood insurance purchased and in place. If not, then please know we are concerned and we want to speak with you right away.
However, for a lot of residents whose neighborhoods or areas around their homes have never seen flooding, it might be hard to justify this extra expense. Remember what we talked about it on our last blog. Hurricanes and their powerful and dangerous effects are moving farther and farther inland and becoming more disastrous in places that haven't seen these effects before. Still not totally convinced? Then let some good old fashioned debunking help you think otherwise. Here are 5 of the most common flood insurance myths debunked and the actual facts behind the myth.
Myth #1: You can only buy flood insurance if you own a home.
Reality: This is very false! You can buy flood insurance if you're renting, for an apartment, for a condo, for your business, and more! As a renter you'll want this insurance to protect your belongings inside the space you're renting. If you are wanting to protect your business and everything you use to operate and run it in a rented building, then flood insurance is also available to you, and should it be an option you're looking into if you don't already have it.
Myth #2: Flood insurance is already included in my homeowner's insurance policy!
Reality: According to FEMA, most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. It might cover small damages done by water, but not by floods themselves. If your pipes burst or leak or your toilet falls through the ceiling because of water damage, then your insurance will cover these things. If a hurricane comes through and leaves two feet of water in your living room, that will not be covered. Many policyholders find out far too late that their policy doesn't cover flooding. When do they find out? When their home is already flooded and there is nothing they can do. We encourage you not to make this mistake! Please chat with us or your insurance agent and find out how much water damage or flood damage your insurance is currently covering. If you want more coverage, invest in it now. If you don't have any coverage at all, it might be wise to look into some before it's too late.
Myth #3: I only need to buy flood insurance if I live in a high flood area!
Reality: Every home is at risk of flooding, even if you live in a low-risk or moderate risk area. According to FEMA, it is more likely for a home to experience flooding in 30 years than a fire. Also, over 20% of flood claims are made from homes that were not in high-risk areas.
Myth #4: I should wait until the storm season to buy flood insurance.
Reality: Most people who don't have flood insurance only start thinking about buying or consider buying it when a bad storm is coming or their home has already been flooded. Why wait until it's too late to make such an important choice? Also, flood insurance policies take up to 30 days before they go into effect. This makes waiting until you're very close to storm season even more risky and stressful. Begin planning and purchasing in the dryer season when you're less likely to think about it. If you do, you'll be thanking yourself during the times you would normally begin to panic!
Myth #5: If my home floods, Government assistance will take care of all the repairs!
Reality: To get governmental assistance after a flood, the flood has to be declared a federal disaster by the president. According to FEMA, less than half of all floods are declared disasters. Even in the case that a flood is declared a disaster, most people will only receive between $5000 and $7000 in financial help. This most often comes in the form of a low-interest disaster loan that must be paid back. Financial assistance that comes from your insurance policy does not need to be repaid, and you can get upwards to $100,000 if not more in assistance. We urge you not to rely on FEMA or other disaster relief programs when it comes to flooding. You will most likely get hardly enough in assistance to cover your basic needs!
Are you feeling a little more swayed after this list? Please know that these are just some of the common myths. There are many others out there still left to be debunked and replaced with facts that lean towards the many reasons why you should seriously think about purchasing flood insurance. If you have any questions about this or would like to discuss flood insurance policies with us, please don't hesitate to reach out. We want to make sure that you're covered and safe before it's too late!
The joy of fall can be tainted by the threat that hurricane season is still with us until November 1st. Make sure your home and your family are prepared and insured for anything that could happen.
Hurricanes and the Lowcountry go together like a day at the beach and a potential sunburn. No matter how much we love living here, there are just a few things that come with the territory. Hurricanes, flooding, and tropical storms are just some of the potentially dangerous, scary, and everyday threats we have to live with. It's the price to pay for living in one of the most beautiful places in the southeast. No matter if you're new to Lowcountry or not, you always need to make sure you're prepared for anything. Your home needs to be safe and secured, your evacuation plan needs to be established, and your insurance needs to be ready to support your home and property through what ever damage these storms could bring. According to Forbes, NOAA updated its 2020 storm prediction to upwards of 13 to 19 storms, already reaching 9 named storms by August of this year. In the past that many storms didn't appear until October. Over 60 million people are living right in the hot spot for these storms, and South Carolina is apart of that. Even if you aren't currently insured for the damages a hurricane can bring there is no better time than now to get started.
How does your insurance plan stand up to all of these requirements, needs, and reminders? Are you ready for hurricane season and what's left of it? If not, please don't panic. We are just a phone call away and are here to help you get protected and covered. We are excited to work with you and love being a part of the Summerville community!
When you're in the market for insurance, you can feel like a number lost in the shuffle of large corporate agencies. Here are some of the top reasons why you should be working with an independent insurance agency.
Hello, friends and family in North Charleston and beyond! We continue to appreciate your support of our company and our social media presence. We are very excited to start a brand new venture; blogging! That's right! Twice a month we will be giving you fun, informative, and interesting blogs to help guide and education you in the world of insurance. We know you love our company because of its individuality and the personal attention we give to our clients. Through these blogs, we hope you find even more reason to enjoy working with us, have fun learning, and feel free to ask any questions you would like in the comment section after every blog. We look forward to you joining us on this adventure! In this first blog, we are going to start with the basics, the top three reasons why you should be working with an independent insurance agent!
First off, if you're new to our company you might know the difference between an independent insurance agent compared to a captive or direct insurance agent. A direct insurance agent works for, represents, and can only offer policies from one insurance company. An independent provider, like our company, offers multiple plans through multiple insurance companies. The goal of a captive agent is to work for and benefit the insurance company. The goal of an independent agent is to work for the client and to find them the best plan available to them based on their personal and financial needs. This has been our goal since day one when we started in a spare bedroom right here in North Charleston way back in 2014.
#1. Better Customer Service
As we mentioned above, our job is to work with you to find the best insurance policy for your needs. We get to learn about you and your family, and you get to learn about us! We search through all the plans and providers out there to create a handpicked plan based on the time we take to get to know you. It goes beyond picking the perfect plan, too. Once we've found the best plan, we keep up with your needs as time goes on. We help you resolve your claims much faster, it can be in a matter of days compared to a large agency that could take weeks or months to resolve an issue. We make sure to answer all calls, questions, emails, and general inquiries in a very timely manner. We can keep that personal connection with our current and future clients. An independent agent also knows and understands your policies and can easily catch any mistakes made on a claim, or a mistake made by an adjuster to avoid denial of your claim. An independent agent can also directly explain any confusing or difficult language within a policy that might not make sense or that you might not understand right away.
#2. A Lifetime Partnership
Once you begin working with an independent insurance agency, you can have a partnership with them through all the stages of your life. They get to know you as they pick out your very first policy, so they understand when your coverage needs to be reviewed and possibly changed. Did you just buy your first home? Have your first child? Send your child to college? Get that big job? Retire? All of these new and exciting stages in your life will come with new challenges and will need new insurance policies to match. You won't need to shop around anymore, once you begin working with an independent agent, you just have to pick up the phone or pay a visit to the person you've been dealing with this whole time. This is such a rare and special quality. What also makes an independent agent so unique is that they are right here in your neighborhood and represent the same community you do. They understand your economy, what unique needs are needed for living in your area, and love living in your community just like you. They aren't just your insurance agent, they're your neighbors.
#3. Fighting For You
Like we've mentioned previously, independent agents work for you. They don't work for the big insurance companies. When things get difficult in a situation where your insurance is needed, they can become your advocates. If a claim needs to be adjusted, if a mistake has been made, or you've had a huge life change and you need to edit your policy, your independent agent can act as a buffer between you and your insurance company. They can help you fix any of these issues promptly. Also, they can become your personal advisers, helping you make some tough decisions. They can give you a few options based on their long term knowledge of working with you. Also, an independent agent is a one-stop-shop. You can get every kind of insurance you need at one time, and each will be handpicked and curated to your needs and budget.
Pretty spectacular reasons, right? These are just a few of the basic ideas about why we love doing what we do. We encourage you to read more into the other benefits of working with an independent agent. You will be blown away by the amount of information a basic google search will give you! If you have any more questions, please feel free to reach out at any time or put them in the comments below. We are excited to work with you and love being a part of the Summerville community!
Simple Steps for House Fire Prevention
Seventy-seven percent of all fire deaths in 2017 occurred in the home, according to the National Fire Protection Association. As the temperature drops and holidays draw closer, the use of indoor lights, candles, and fires increases. With the festive décor and traditional use of fire to create a warm and cozy home comes an increase of house fires.
Over 360,000 residential fires occurred in 2016, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, causing $7.7 billion in property loss. The main cause of house fires was cooking followed by heating. Keep your home safe this winter with a few simple winter house fire prevention steps then make sure you’re covered in case the worst happens.
1. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and outside of all sleeping areas. Check them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year, recommends the American Red Cross
2. Create a fire escape plan. Make sure each family member knows at least 2 ways to exit the house. Practice the plan with every member of your household at least twice a year.
3. Teach children basic fire-safety rules such as the stop-drop-roll technique and to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. Teach them to not run from firefighters.
4. Cook wisely. Cooking is the main cause of house fires. Don’t leave the stove unattended while it’s being used. Remember to set timers to prevent food from overcooking and catching fire. Keep a pan lid or baking sheet ready. You can use it to cover a fire and extinguish it.
5. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned before the first fire of the season.
6. Use space heaters wisely. Keep them away from flammable items like flimsy holiday décor, fabric, and furniture. Also, turn them off before leaving the room. Search for space heaters with an automatic-off function should the unit get too hot.
7. Be smart about candles. Candles are common during the holidays but can lead to house fires all too easily. From 2011-2015, an estimated 8,700 house fires were started by candles each year. Keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Set them on or in a non-flammable and stable container and surface. Remember to put the candle out before leaving the room.
8. Practice general fire-prevention steps. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from open flame and heaters. Keep fire extinguishers on hand in areas where a fire is most likely to occur (such as fireplaces and kitchens). Keep your fire detectors working properly.
Speak with one of our agents today to make sure you have the right coverage for your home. Homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of repair due to a house fire. Also, it may cover detached structures such as a garage or shed. Personal property lost during a house fire may be covered under homeowners insurance as well. Make an appointment today and get peace of mind that your home and valuables are protected. Follow the tips above to keep your family and guests safe this holiday season!
What Homeowners Need to Know About Burglary
While you prepare your home for Halloween and the upcoming holiday season, take a few minutes to evaluate your home security measures. By taking preventative measures now, you can save yourself time, frustration, money, and even injury or death, down the road.
A High Price to Pay
Nationwide, 7 million property crimes, which include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson occurred in 2016, according to FBI estimates. While burglary accounted for just over 19% of all property crime in 2016, an estimated 1.5 million burglaries occurred with $3.6 billion in property loss prove burglary is no small matter. More than half of these offenses occurred on residential properties. In 2014, only 13.6% of burglaries resulted in arrests. You need to make sure your homeowner’s insurance covers break-ins to ensure your home and all that you keep in it stays protected.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Burglaries
Typically, homeowner’s insurance covers items stolen inside and outside of the home due to burglaries and theft. Dwelling coveragehelps to cover cost of repairs due to a break-in. Personal property coverage helps to cover the cost of personal belongings stolen or damaged. When reviewing your policy, you have to distinguish between Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV).
ACV will cover you for the amount your damaged or stolen items are currently worth. RCV reimburses you for the amount to replace the same item in the current market. “For example, if you bought your TV five years ago, its actual cash value may be $700 due to depreciation. However, you might need $1200 to buy a new TV with the same features in the present day,” according to ValuePenguin. Speaking with an insurance professional at Abri Insurance, you can decide which coverage fits your needs better.
Important Insurance Caveats
Homeowner’s insurance coverage doesn’t include car theft. However, it does typically cover personal belongings stolen inside and outside of your home. If you have items taken from you while you are outside of your home, your insurance can cover them. Also, if you have family members listed under your policy, their personal belongings are covered against theft as well, until they move into their own home.
Prevent Burglaries and Save Money
Take these simple steps to decrease your chances of a break-in. Make an inventory of valuables inside of your home, with receipts and proof of purchase if available. This will become an invaluable document if you have to make a claim with your insurance company. For your home, get started on these tasks right away:
Heart of the Matter: Prevent Heart Disease and Save Money
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. One in three deaths in the United States in 2014 were due to cardiovascular disease. With over 600,000 deaths in 2015, heart disease is a serious condition not only for the concern of yourself and those who care about you, but also for your financial future.
In 2011, heart disease cost the U.S. $215 billion according to the CDC. With an aging population, it’s predicted that direct medical costs associated with cardiovascular diseases are projected to rise to more than $818 billion by 2030.
In addition to medical expenses, the additional cost from loss of productivity from patients suffering with cardiovascular diseases increases to nearly $1billion per day.
Identity Theft Reality
We live in a digital world. We can order food and common household items from the comfort of our sofa with a few clicks of the mouse. We socialize and file our taxes online. We video chat and check our credit reports online. While these advances make life easier, they also present a platter of vulnerabilities. With the evolution of technology and the ever-present mixing of technology into our personal lives, you need to take steps to prevent identity theft now.
In 2017, there were over 16 million victims of identity fraud and a loss of $16.8 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. These numbers shattered the previously record-breaking numbers of 2016.
The Federal Trade Commission’s(FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network reported a decrease in the number of complaints of identity theft and fraud in 2017, but a rise in the amount of money stolen.
Image source: Insurance Information Institute
How Victim’s Information is Misused
The largest misuse of victim’s information was for employment or tax-related fraud at 34 percent in 2016. Just under this figure is credit card fraud at 29.2 percent, according to complaint reports through the FTC. New account fraud was the third largest reported misuse of information.
“Insert your chip,” may be the latest method of credit card payment, and the latest deterrent for thieves. The use of chips on debit and credit cards has made it more difficult to counterfeit cards. Criminals have since found a better source for information – New Account Fraud.
The Insurance Information Institute(III) states new account fraud is when someone opens a credit card in your name using your personal information. This crime tripled in numbers from 2016 to 2017 with total losses at $5.1 billion. It was the third most common consumer complaint, reports the FTC.
Image source: Federal Trade Commission
What You Need to Prevent Identity Theft Now
Don’t wait for an attack to happen to you. Prepare now to safeguard your information, money, and identity with these tips from the FTC Department of Consumer Information.
Keep Your Personal Information Secure Offline
Keep Your Personal Information Secure Online
Are You a Victim of Identity Theft?
While you take steps to prevent identity theft, become familiar with the steps you should take if you become a victim. As criminals develop ever more elaborate and intelligent ways to steal information and your hard-earned money, the chance of identity fraud is always present. Follow these steps from the FTC the moment you think and know you are a victim. Download a free PDF here.
Protect Against Identity Theft with Insurance Coverage
You can’t always prevent identity theft, but you can take steps to reduce the chances of it happening, lessen the damage, and protect yourself with insurance coverage. Speak with one of our professionals at Abri Insurance today to discuss your insurance needs and options. We will find a plan to fit what you need and keep your identity protected.
We are Abri
We've created this blog to keep our customers and others in the know. When it comes to insurance and keeping people safe, no knowledge should be off limits.