Does the thought of having your identity stolen make you break out into a cold sweat? Hundreds of identities are stolen every day in the United States. The financial loss and anxiety from such a crime can be devastating. That's why identity protection insurance was invented.
There are several companies that offer insurance coverage to cover financial losses if your identity is stolen. Many have other features as well, like family protection for your children and coverage of everyday mishaps like stolen wallets.
Two of the most popular choices are Identity Guard and Lifelock. Each has a variety of plan options with different pricing tiers. I've taken a look at the different plans and what they include so you can decide which works best for your budget.
Overview of Identity Guard and Lifelock
Unique Identity Guard Features
Unique Lifelock Features
Identity Guard's most basic plan is called the Value Plan. It's specifically designed for individuals on a budget, with a monthly cost of $8.99. Since it's so inexpensive, it's one of the best choices for those who are new to identity protection.
This plan is extremely basic, offering $1 million in insurance coverage should your identity be stolen. You also get an exclusive case manager in the event that that happens.
The most inexpensive Lifelock plan is the Lifelock Standard option. It has a cost of $11.99 per month, but if you purchase an annual subscription, the cost will be $125 instead. In addition to the $1 million in insurance coverage for a lost identity, you get $25,000 covering financial loss and $25,000 covering personal expenses.
The service doesn't let you access your credit information. But it does give you alerts if your bank accounts, SSN, or address are being used for unlawful purposes.
Lifelock's base plan isn't too much more expensive than Identity Guard's, and it comes with a valuable alert system to let you know if anything is amiss with your identity. That's one of the most important factors in recognizing and stopping identity theft before the damage becomes irreparable.
Identity Guard's Total Plan is the next step up from the Value option. It comes with a cost of $19.99 per month. In addition to the base plan's features, the Total Plan includes:
For a more comprehensive option, the Premier Plan is a choice that costs $24.99 per month. To all the other features, it adds an annual overall credit report that compiles data through Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. These are the top three credit rating institutions in the country.
There are two upgraded Lifelock plans: the Advantage and Ultimate Plus plans.
The Advantage plan has a monthly cost of $23.99, or you can purchase a year-long subscription for $240.
In addition to the base plan's features, the Advantage plan includes:
The Ultimate Plus plan is the most expensive of any of the plan options on this list. It has a cost of $34.99 per month. As a general rule, you'll only want this plan if you have significant financial assets that you want to protect.
There are a number of benefits included, though. On top of all the other plan features, the Ultimate Plus option includes:
While these month-to-month changes in your credit score may be ideal for those serious about credit monitoring, they aren't necessary for the vast majority of people.
Winner: Identity Guard
This was a tough call because of the different features available in each plan. However, for the average everyday person, Identity Guard has better plan options and more comprehensive alert systems. It's the better choice if you want identity protection that's more focused on alerting you before a catastrophe than cleaning up after one.
Lifelock does have many advantages to its higher plans, particularly for those who have a large number of assets. But if you don't have huge savings or personal assets, the extra insurance coverage won't be necessary. Your chances of having financial costs exceeding $25,000 are low. If you do have greater assets, though, the extra protection can bring peace of mind.
Identity Guard's family plan allows you to protect all of the family members that live at a single home address. This includes your spouse and children. The plan will monitor the dark web for use of your child's personal information, and you'll also be sent alerts if there are signs that a child might be being cyberbullied.
Lifelock's family plan is more limited in the people it covers. Once you purchase one of the individual available plans, you'll need to add your children one by one. The cost of every child under age 18 is $5.99 each month regardless of your plan tier. That can add up pretty quickly if you have several children.
If you want to add your spouse or partner, you'd need to get another individual plan. That's not a very economically feasible option.
Winner: Identity Guard
Identity Guard's family plan covers both your spouse and children. It's very inexpensive, especially for those with large families. In addition, you get access to exclusive features like cyberbullying alerts and dark web monitoring for the children under the age of 18.
Pros and Cons of Identity Guard
Pros and Cons of Lifelock
Final Thoughts: Which is Better?
Both of these identity protection services have valuable features for your peace of mind. You'll get insurance coverage and helpful support should you ever find yourself dealing with a stolen identity.
For those looking for affordable all-around coverage, Identity Guard is the best choice. Should you have your identity stolen, you'll be appointed a unique and helpful case manager. There are also internet browsing features with anti-phishing capabilities that can prevent your identity from being stolen in the first place.
For maximum benefits and features, Lifelock is the place to go. That's where you'll get access to a sex offender database, lost wallet coverage, and 24/7 phone support in case of issues. You also get additional personal coverage in case of a stolen identity. However, the best features are on the higher-tier and more expensive plans.