Family protection is something a lot of identity theft protection services struggle with. No matter how good the base service is, it’s a complete crapshoot as to whether their family coverage will actually be any good or not.
So, it’s always good to take a look at the benefits of a service’s family plans, and how they stack up to all your other options out there.
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Do You Really Need Family Protection?
If you’re married, protecting your spouse should be just as high of a priority for you as protecting your own identity.
While there is some level of overlap in individual protection with married couples, for example if you have a joint bank account, there will never be complete overlap. Even if every asset is shared equally, there are points of entry like your spouse’s email addresses, phone number, and various other accounts that should be protected so they don’t spiral out of control.
Covering everyone in your family just makes good sense.
Even Child Protection?
Yes. Or, more accurately, especially child protection.
According to research by Experian, the average age of an identity theft victim is 12. Children are overall much more likely to be victims of identity theft. According to research from various outlets (including Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab), children are 51 times more likely than adults to be victims of identity theft.
Why is that? Largely because they have no protections, and nobody really paying attention to their history. Children are blank slates in terms of credit, and should remain that way.
Due to their simultaneous lack of history and existing in a blind spot for most parents, fraudsters can prioritize exploiting the identities of children, opening fraudulent accounts in their name, taking out loans, and so on that will absolutely tank their credit.
Without monitoring, this often isn’t caught until it’s too late: when the child turns 18 and tries to apply for their own first loan or open an account.
With their credit score in shambles, this can stifle their attempt to start a life. Getting their first car, applying for student loans, even getting approved for an apartment all become more difficult, all the more so because they will likely have no idea what to do to handle such a situation on their own.
Getting child protection is, frankly, even more important than getting protection for yourself. It’s usually cheaper, and often more effective since the monitoring can afford to be a lot more sensitive. Anything showing up on your child’s credit report (or even them having one in the first place) should be considered suspicious and handled accordingly.
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IDNotify Feature Recap
All family plan services are based on the individual services, so a quick rundown of everything IDNotify offers for their individual members is important.
IDNotify is an identity theft protection service backed by Experian that offers three membership tiers: Essential, Select, and Premier.
Essential is an extraordinarily basic and, quite frankly, almost worthless service plan. It offers basic internet surveillance and social network monitoring, one bureau credit monitoring (Experian only), and access to their customer support. It also offers no insurance.
Select is very slightly better, for almost double the cost, and offers a smattering of the less useful identity monitoring tools in addition to what Essential offers. It is, arguably, an even worse value in some respects, saved only by the fact that it offers the insurance plan.
That leaves IDnotify’s Premier plan, which thankfully more than makes up for the other two plans. It gives you a lot of bang for your buck, with very wide array monitoring that includes all of the important stuff:
- Credit Card Monitoring
- Bank Account Monitoring
- Change of Address Monitoring
- Court Records and Booking Monitoring
- Financial Account Takeover
- Internet Surveillance
- Non-credit (aka Payday) Loan Monitoring
- Sex Offender Monitoring
- Social Network Monitoring
- Social Security Number Trace
The monitoring is fast, accurate, and very detailed. It makes it easy to pick out what needs to be changed and for you to follow up on it whenever you need to with their customer service representatives, who are available 24/7.
Their $1 million insurance plan isn’t the best on the market, as it doesn’t cover reimbursements and expenses separately, but it’s still quite good overall.
And the Family Plans?
IDNotify’s family plans are some of the best value out there. I was very surprised by how great they are compared to other options on the market, at least when using their Premier plan as the point of comparison.
Unlike just about every other service out there, IDNotify does not offer Family plans as a separate deal with a “bundle discount”. Instead, they offer a flat rate cost increase for their family plan services.
You can spend an extra $10 per month for their full “Family Plan”, which extends the coverage of your primary plan to two adults and up to 10 children.
Alternatively, if you are a single parent, you can instead pay an additional $5 for their Child Protection Plan, which covers up to 10 children.
This is an excellent value on its own. While it’s an exorbitant price increase for their Essential plan, and only a bit better for the Select plan, it’s a great complement to the Premier plan and compares very favorably pound for pound to every other family plan on the market.
A much less than 50% increase in price for over double the protection coverage is a great deal.
There are no real frills here, nor are there any catches. It’s just an extension of IDNotify’s already quite solid coverage for a relatively minimal price increase.
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IDNotify is already a good service, but taking into account their family plan deals puts them on a whole other level compared to other options out there. It might be the best family plan on the market, held back only by IDNotify’s service lacking a few of the “premium” monitoring features that other services like Identity Guard and LifeLock offer, namely home title monitoring, 401(k) and investment monitoring, and insurance.
But the lower price combined with its already high performance makes this a strong competitor.
If you’re looking to cover your family for a reasonable cost, IDNotify should not be overlooked as a potential choice. It has a similar budget price to other midrange identity theft protection services but without falling into the trap of trying to gouge you on “Family plans” which are the same cost as just buying two accounts separately.
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