Our series on identity theft protection apps will evaluate the features, pricing options, competition, and also the overall value of using each app. However, these are not full hands-on reviews since evaluating identity theft protection apps is almost impossible. It would require several months of testing, purposefully hacking accounts to see if the protection app works, handing over personally identifiable information, performing multiple credit checks, and risking exposure of the reviewer’s personally identifiable information.
It can happen when you least expect it. You visit the ATM to deposit a check and discover your account is not accessible. On your Twitter feed, you notice someone is impersonating you and sharing links to sites known for distributing malware. You sit down in a comfy chair with your mortgage lender and she gives you the bad news – your credit is in shambles.
Identity theft is one of those surreal experiences in life, and it sometimes feels like you won’t ever be able to restore your good name. Fortunately, a trusted brand in insurance offers an identity theft protection app with some added features we haven’t seen in other products. It’s also entirely free this year (you can choose to renew on January 1, 2021).
Allstate Identity Protection includes some nice perks such as true social media monitoring (you receive an alert if your account is hacked), $500,000 in insurance protection, and even covers student loans and retirement accounts. It’s not quite as powerful as some of the best ID theft apps out there, but you can’t beat the price and it’s a worthwhile app even at the normal monthly fees.
Plans and pricing
Allstate Identity Protection makes it clear that the product is entirely free, both for the Essentials plan (normally $9.99 per month) and the Premier plan (normally $17.99 per month). Once you sign up, you accept the free terms until the end of 2020. You’ll be prompted to sign-up for the paid plans and, the company claims, won’t be charged automatically at the renewal date. You do have to add your credit card information. Even for the paid plans, Allstate Identity Protection is worth considering, so for no cost it’s even more compelling.
The paid plans differ in one significant way: For the Essentials plan there’s only $50,000 in stolen funds reimbursement and $50,000 for expenses related to fraud. (Allstate Identity Protection distinguishes between the two – so it’s $100,000 total.) With the Premier plan, those amounts go up to $500,000 in stolen funds reimbursement and $500,000 for fraud-related expenses (for $1 million total – matching the amount we’ve seen with other ID theft apps).
For families, you can choose the Essentials plan for families ($18.99 normally) or the Premier plan for families ($34.99), but rather surprisingly those plans are also free this year. It might all be related to the coronavirus pandemic and economic uncertainty or an interesting marketing experiment with the hope you will also choose Allstate for your other insurance needs. The Essentials plan also doesn’t include retirement or social media monitoring. Although it isn’t specifically mentioned on their website, all plans include credit monitoring, but there’s no mention of how many credit bureaus are involved or if you receive an actual credit score (monthly or annually).
Let’s just hope you like the color blue. Allstate relies heavily on a deep shade of blue that’s on their website and in the Allstate Identity Protection app. Once again, we’re talking about a no frills approach with an interface that looks like TurboTax. You’ll see categories like credit monitoring, Dark Web monitoring, and alerts regarding your finances.
The mobile app is focused mostly on alerts – you’ll see questions about transactions that look suspicious. We prefer the wizards and status indicators of apps like Norton LifeLock because they walk you through any identity protection issues and protections in a way that’s clear and obvious.
For the most part, Allstate Identity Protection has all of the basics covered. There’s a way to monitor your credit and see alerts about unusual financial activity. You can monitor the Dark Web for any personally identifiable information that’s being used fraudulently.
One of the most unique attributes here is that, while many ID theft protection apps can monitor your own social media feeds and flag inappropriate discussions (swearing, drug references or criminal behavior), Allstate Identity Protection goes much further and alerts you if you’ve been hacked. You can then investigate the issue and take control of your accounts again.
Let’s be clear about one thing right away – we have not found any other free ID theft apps. There are a few that are extremely affordable, including Complete ID (which costs $8.99 per month if you are a Costco member) and Zander Identity Theft (which costs $6.25 per month if you pay for the entire year up front).
Allstate Identity Protection is free until January 1, so that makes it completely unique. Even after the free period, at $17.99 for the Premier plan, the app is still worth considering because of the added monitoring features and insurance. Norton LifeLock is still our top pick in the field, however. Even though it’s free, if your identity is compromised, you may want to consider the best paid products that cost more.
If your main goal is to choose the best ID theft protection app available no matter the cost, then Allstate Identity Protection is not the best pick. In every other way possible – using the product for free this year, the added monitoring for social media and the Dark Web, and the ID theft insurance – Allstate Identity Protection is compelling.
In the final analysis though, it’s not as powerful or useful as Norton LifeLock of IdentityForce. Still, choosing to use this product is a smart decision, even as a way to test the waters and see if ID theft protection is a worthwhile endeavor for you. That said, Allstate Identity Protection is a top pick even when it isn’t free.
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