A lot of things have changed in the past couple months due to Coronavirus.  Although Columbia began re-opening several weeks ago, high-risk or more cautious residents are still staying at home and taking advantage of many online and delivery services.  With such an increase in online activity, extra protection should be considered to safeguard your important information. 

ID Theft

Online shopping puts consumers at risk for identity theft or a cyber attack.  Many standard homeowners insurance carriers have been offering Identity Theft coverage as an additional endorsement for purchase for the last several years.  This coverage can provide a set limit for expenses incurred to restore the policyholder’s financial identity in the event of an identity theft, such as with the case of Travelers offering $25,000 or Auto-Owners offering $15,000 on home AND auto policies (for a total of $30,000).  Progressive’s homeowners policy provides the coverage with no limit included with the purchase of their HomeShield Plus or Platinum endorsements, provided that indemnification services are obtained through a fraud management company called CyberScout.   

Online Attacks

A newer coverage entering the market offers protection against cyber attacks.  For example, Home Cyber Protection from Auto-Owners is a great option.  This is an affordable, additional coverage that can be purchased for all types of connected technology – such as your computer, tablet, and smartphone.    

Home Cyber Protection from Auto-Owners provides protection against the following online attacks:    

Cyber Attack                

Pays for the cost of professional firms to perform data recovery and restore your system to the same level of functionality as before the cyber attack.

Cyber Extortion                                                      

Provides professional advice and consultation from a subject matter expert on how to best respond to a threat and also pays approved extortion response payments (ransom).


Pays for direct financial loss as a result of identity theft or the unauthorized use of an insured’s bank account or credit card.

Data Breach

Allows for a Forensic IT Review determining the extent of a data breach and others who have been affected; provides a legal response, notification and services to affected individuals including credit monitoring and identity restoration.

To Better Protect Yourself

There are some steps you can take to help protect yourself against online attacks:

  • Make sure the website you are on is secure by ensuring there is a padlock icon, or lock icon next to the web address (this type of connection is designed to prevent others from reading the data you exchange with the website)
  • Pay with a credit instead of debit card. When the money is not coming directly out of your bank account you have more time to dispute charges which provides for better fraud protection
  • Debit card use is safer than giving out your bank account and routing number
  • Set secure passwords and any time you are offered 2-factor authentication add this extra layer of protection
  • Keep your browser and antivirus software up to date and run scans on your antivirus software regularly
  • Disable your internet browser’s auto complete feature (or at the very least do NOT save any credit card numbers or other financial information if a window pops up on your browser and asks you) On Chrome, for example: Click the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the screen, choose Settings > Autofill > Payment Methods > Slide the button to the left Save and fill payment methods
  • Delete emails without opening them if you do not know the sender.  In addition, do not click on links in emails or open attachments unless you are certain the source is legitimate
  • Do not open text messages that are from unknown sources, immediately delete them as well
  • Never give out personal information over the phone unless you know who you are speaking with; never give out personal information in an email unless you are using a secure link
  • Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true
  • Order a copy of your credit report at least annually if not more frequent to check for any unknown activity

Insure with the People You Trust

As time goes on and smart-home technology continues to advance, carriers will continue to tailor products and endorsements to protect its customers from hackers.  If you feel like you are at an increased risk for a Home Cyber Attack or Identity Theft due to your increased online usage in recent months, please contact the agents at Kasmann Insurance Agency to discuss your homeowner coverage.  We are happy to review your current coverage and advise you on any new options we have available or that may apply in lieu of recent events.                 

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