When it comes to identity theft protection, the breadth of coverage is almost as important as the depth. You want a set of monitoring conditions to be as wide-ranging as possible when it comes to the monitoring tools. Most people understand this pretty intuitively. When it comes to protection, more is better.
Is Identity Guard any good? It provides one of the Top ID Theft Protection Services today. The basic plan is cheap and it even offers a 30-day risk free trial if you are shopping for an ID protection service. The Total and Premier Plans are also great options but they can be expensive for some.
What a lot of people overlook though is that breadth of coverage doesn’t just refer to how many different types of fraud and data breaches the service keeps an eye on, but how many people it covers.
When it comes to family members, their safety is often intrinsically linked to yours. If a spouse’s information is breached, particularly stuff like bank details, it can affect both of you. Even if accounts aren’t directly linked, some types of data breach can tank your credit, and while that may not directly affect both of your credit scores, it can negatively impact things like applying for a home loan, assuming you want to apply jointly, since both of your credits will be taken into account there.
Besides things happening to your family that might directly impact you, you’ll obviously want to keep your family safe from harm, so covering as many people as possible is a no brainer.
Most, if not all, identity theft protection services offer family plans, usually entailing some kind of discount for bundling multiple accounts together. Some are better than others, and pretty much all of them have different criteria you need to meet and little quirks and oddities you’ll need to be aware of.
So what about Identity Guard’s family plan options? We’ve gone over the details of what each of their individual plans offers already, but let’s have a quick refresher so it’s easier to compare the value of an individual plan and the family plans.
A Quick Review of Identity Guard’s Individual Plans:
Identity Guard divides their plans into three tiers: Value, Total, and Ultra. All of the following plans are taking into account our special discount on all plans available.
Value is the cheapest by a long shot, but comes with an absolute bare minimum of functionality. It gives you very basic monitoring at an extremely low cost. This level of coverage is barely worth mentioning, if we’re being honest. I would not recommend the Value plan for any individual user; if you want a budget option, other services (for example LifeLock’s Select plan) give you a lot more bang for your buck at this general price range.
Total doesn’t quite live up to its name, but definitely offers a lot more than the Value plan, which it should since it costs over twice as much. Notably, this is the tier that starts to offer bank account monitoring, one of the highly important options any identity theft protection service should offer.
The Ultra plan is where the real meat of the service is though, offering by far the most options, which is why in our estimation it’s the only legitimate option for most users. Almost the entirety of the service’s functionality is locked behind the Ultra plan, which again costs you close to twice as much as the Total plan. It’s well worth the cost, by our analysis.
|Month to Month||$7.20/month($86.40/year)||$15.99/month($191.88/year)||$23.99/month($287.88/year)|
To make a long story short, the Ultra plan is the only one I’d wholeheartedly recommend for serious users. It offers by far the best bang for your buck at every stage, and there are better options out there in terms of performance for the lower brackets at around the same price range, but nothing else on the market really compares to Identity Guard’s Ultra plan.
So What About the Identity Guard Family Plans?
Each of the family plans is going to cost you a bit extra by a variable amount.
|Month to Month||$11.99/month($143.88/year)||$23.99/month($287.88/year)||$31.99/month($383.88/year)|
Compared to their Individual plan equivalents, that’s a cost increase of close to 50% for each option, a little better for the Ultra plan.
This is perfect, given the Ultra plan gives by far the best value. You’re essentially getting a full second account for about a third of the normal cost, plus coverage for your kids as well.
Identity Guard Family Plans are a bit different compared to the family plans offered by competitors, like LifeLock. Some limit the number of kids that are covered to a maximum of 5 and/or 10 kids.
Identity Guard, on the other hand, has no limits whatsoever. You could have 20 kids and they’d all be covered. The only caveat here is that they all have to live in the same household, and that goes for any adults covered by the plan as well.
This is an inconvenience you need to deal with in order to take advantage of the generous pricing here. You can’t cover another adult living in a different household.
This makes the plan better in some niche circumstances, and worse in others. If you do happen to have 20 kids, or you run something like a foster home and want to cover some extra bases for free, it’s a solid option to have.
If, on the other hand, you want to cover something like an adult child going off to college, both you and a spouse who may have a different legal address for whatever reason (business, legal separation, etc.), or some other uncommon but variable circumstances…you’re kind of out of luck.
Still, in terms of pure cost efficiency these family plans should be great for the majority of standard family units: two adults and a variable number of kids living under the same roof.
In terms of what they cover, the family plans are identical to Identity Guard’s individual plans.
This means that overall, the Value plan is going to be largely worthless to a lot of people, but it’s not quite completely pointless. The main benefit of the Value plan is that it’s extraordinarily cheap, and still comes with Identity Guard’s full $1 million insurance policy.
While the Value plan’s monitoring is beyond basic (dwarfed even by LifeLock’s otherwise lackluster Select plan), getting that $1 million as a backup plan in case something does happen is good value.
The Identity Guard Total plan is one I’d ignore completely in this scenario. Compared to competitors (eg. LifeLock Advantage, IdShield Family) it’s only slightly cheaper even with discounts applied and doesn’t offer anything in particular that most users would want.
That leaves the Ultra plan, which, as usual, is going to be your best bet. If you want the widest ranging protection possible, and particularly protection for your family home with home title monitoring, you want Identity Guard Ultra. Even if you don’t own a home yet, their 401(k) and investment monitoring exclusive to that plan is something you’ll want to focus on. If you’re starting a family, you already need to be thinking about retirement (and preferably have been buying in for years already).
Is It Worth It?
It depends on your family situation.
Under most circumstances, I’d say yes. If you have a spouse, or live together with your significant other, then it’s an absolute no brainer. If one of you has identity protection, there’s no reason not to extend that to both of you.
Even if your finances aren’t connected to each other, it never hurts to extend any protection to other people you care about.
If you have kids? Absolutely, even more so. You can cover an unlimited number of kids for the cost of a third of an account, essentially, which is a great deal. Even if you’re a single parent, getting the family plan might be worth it if you’re worried about your kids’ identities being stolen. The cost isn’t really that much extra per month (even less if you pay for a year in advance) so you’re not losing out on too much money for that extra bit of peace of mind.
Obviously if you’re on your own, the family plans aren’t going to be a good idea. Likewise, if you have some kind of split up arrangement, such as a divorcee with joint custody of the kids, things can get a bit muddy as to what constitutes “under the same household” for your kids, if there are two legal addresses. Things can get pretty messy in that case, so make sure the plan works for your needs.
Overall, Identity Guard’s service is going to be what speaks for itself overall. The Ultra plan in particular is highly efficient, with an insanely good monitoring suite that does broad spectrum, deep dive analysis of your history on the internet and off of it.
If you qualify for one of the family plans, it’s a given that you’re going to want to get it. The plan is cost-efficient to an impressive degree, more so than a lot of the alternatives out there, so there really is no reason not to go with it.
Of course, as mentioned, qualifying can be pretty tricky for some family situations. Be sure to carefully read over all the little caveats and conditions attached to the family plan you want before signing up.
This is a good habit to get into before signing anything, of course, but it’s worth restating here.
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