Insurance 
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Three Insurance Policies to Skip

InsuranceLong time readers of Bargaineering probably recall that I don’t have collision or comprehensive insurance on my car. It’s a decision that paid off with my first car and one that I’ve stuck with on my current car. While it helps that I don’t drive very often (I work from home), it’s a financial risk that I’ve decided to take on and certainly not an insurance policy I recommend you skip.

There are, however, plenty of insurance policies out there that I am comfortable suggesting that you skip. Here are just three of them:

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 Personal Finance 
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Notify Credit Bureaus of Death

Reader Kim emailed me a few weeks ago with a question I’ve, thanksfully, never had to deal with. Following the death of her mother, she was wondering if she should report her death to the credit bureaus. She’s already paid off and closed all credit accounts and by all accounts things are “settled.” Her lawyer didn’t know the answer so she thought maybe I did! (ha!)

My gut reaction is that you should notify them, and any other similar organizations, to prevent identity theft and fraud. By placing a “deceased alert” on your credit report, any potential creditors or lenders will learn, upon pulling the report, that the person is deceased and should not be extended credit (only relatives of the deceased can request this). I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to do this.

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 Credit 
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How Credit Karma Caught a Credit Report Error Before I Did

I’ve been a fan of Credit Karma for about as long as they’ve been around. It’s a cornerstone of my DIY identity theft protection strategy because it lets me view my TransUnion credit score for free about as often as I want to. I usually check once a month and it lets me see if my score has made any significant changes. If it changes significantly and I don’t know why, it might be a reason for concern.

I have a prime and personal example of why this is a good strategy for everyone.

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 Personal Finance 
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comments

How to Deal with Losing Your Wallet While Traveling

Costanza WalletAfter our inaugural Financial Contingency Plan series post, How to Recover From a Lost Wallet, a lot of you suggested I write an addendum to the post to cover the case where you lose your wallet while traveling. Whenever you’re traveling, one of the biggest headaches you can run into, besides an airline losing your luggage, is losing your wallet or having it stolen. It’s happens more than you like and while we loathe to think about it, a little pre-planning can make your life a lot easier later on.

The first step is to do everything I suggested in the first post and then, when you travel, make these arrangements.

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 Credit 
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How to Recover A Stolen Identity

Hail to the Thief!Having your identity stolen is one of the most jarring things that can happen to you and your financial life. It’s difficult in part because of the uncertainty – how it was stolen, where it was stolen, how much of your financial life has been compromised, and the unknown of what the thief could be doing with your name. When someone steals your wallet, you are probably aware of it relatively quickly. When someone steals your identity, it can be months, even years, before you realize it.

In this latest post in the Financial Contingency Plan series, I explain how to prepare for and react to when your identity is stolen.

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 Personal Finance 
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How to Recover From a Lost Wallet

Costanza WalletIn this inaugural post to the Financial Contingency Plan series, I want to discuss one of the most common financial disasters – losing your wallet. Whether you carry a money clip, an actual wallet, or an entire purse, losing it is one of the most demoralizing financial events that can happen to a person. Your wallet is a compartmentalization of your financial identity and contains your driver’s license, your cash, any credit and debit cards, your photos, insurance information, and other financial tidbits.

This is what you need to do to prepare for and recover from a lost wallet.

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 Personal Finance 
12
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Opt Out of Credit Card Internal Marketing

Junk mail only!We recently received a new Privacy Notice from Citi for 2009, which looked a lot like this online form, and never really appreciated how marketing happens behind the scenes. I implicitly understood that there was some marketing involved but when it’s all spelled out in a privacy document it can be a little disconcerting because the document pretty much covers every potential type of marketing, not the ones they actually do.

For example, they talk about sharing information with other companies in the Citigroup family thought I’ve never received a solicitation from another company at Citi. They also talk about third party nonaffiliated companies, but I’ve also never received anything there (probably because I opt out of junk mail as part of our do it yourself identity theft protection)

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 Credit 
19
comments

ProtectMyID Review

A few months ago, I wrote a LifeLock review in which I broke down their services and tried to figure out if the service was worth it. My conclusion was that the service was comprehensive but outside of the $1M guarantee, didn’t offer anything you couldn’t do yourself (do it yourself identity protection covers what you can do). With identity theft protection services, you’re really buying peace of mind and a service plan where they do the work for you. Is the time it takes to do it yourself worth more than $9 a month? If it is, then companies like LifeLock are worth it. If you prefer to do it yourself and are diligent enough to keep at it, then you certainly could do it yourself.

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