Personal cyber insurance emerges as a new online safeguard, but do you need it?

Feb 9, 2022, 10:00 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY—We use the internet all the time to buy things and pay bills, and we routinely share our identities and information with online companies and services. The problem is, this gives cybercrooks plenty of ways to steal our data and our money. Just as your home insurance protects your home, now personal cyber insurance can cover you and your family against online threats. But is it worth it?

Over the years, KSL has spoken to scores of Utahns who have had their lives and finances turned upside down by cybercriminals. The thing is, cyberattacks of all types just keep growing in frequency and severity said supervisory special agent Casey Harrington of the FBI’s Cyber Squad in Salt Lake.

“Whether it’s ransomware, or online scams, business email compromise, sim swaps, tech scams, we see it all almost every single day,” Harrington said.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Casey Harrington explains how the frequency and severity of cyberattacks hitting Utahns continues to grow.

Over $47.1 million were lost by over 4,926 Utahns to cybercriminals in 2020, according to the FBI’s most recent report. That adds up to an average of $9,564 per crime, nearly three times higher than 2015’s average of $3,339.

“Again, that’s dependent on people reporting it to us, that number is much, much higher,” explained Harrington.

Tools like strong passwords, backing up data, constant software updates are traditional guards. But here is a new one: personal cyber insurance to offset the cost of a cyberattack.

“It can be a cyberattack or a cyber extortion,” said insurance agent Olga Serrato of State Farm. She sells the coverage as an add-on to a homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

“If someone is threatening you with demanding money, to deny access to your system or to distribute information, we also protect you against those,” said Serrato.

Several insurers offer cyber insurance now and while no two policies are alike, generally:

Someone hacks into your bank account and steals your money? You are covered. A bad guy steals your online identity to buy stuff or defraud others? You are covered. Your info ends up on the dark web after a big data breach? Expenses to restore your identity and credit are covered. A hacker holds your files for ransom or threatens to make your private stuff public? Your insurer sends in a specialist or if worse comes to worst, could foot the ransom.

“We all are subject to these attacks,” said Serrato.

Insurance agent Olga Serrato explains to KSL’s Matt Gephardt how the personal cyber insurance she sells can help cover threats such as ransomware, cyber extortion and identity theft.

Does that mean we all need personal cyber insurance?

Some things to consider: We have seen coverage limits of $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 on up to $1,000,000. Also, there is usually a $500 or $1,000 deductible per attack. And premiums can start as low as $25 a year, up to $1,600 and higher.

So, in the end, cyber insurance is like any other insurance. It is a personal choice about peace of mind.

But personal cyber insurance is not a replacement for any security measure we must take to protect our online selves.

“There’s so many different ones (schemes) out there from business emails compromises and these tech scams and romance scams,” said special agent Harrington. “People need to be aware of what they’re clicking on and who they’re communicating with online.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

Get Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps a Clearfield man get his solar panels hooked up after months of delay

Imagine having solar panels installed on your roof but then being unable to get the company to actually hook them up. It happened to Clearfield man and when the company stopped responding, he decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
2 days ago
Kalie Jones and Nick Hulse were allowed to bring their children home from foster care after a judge...
Daniella Rivera

Drug tests deemed ‘not sufficiently reliable’ in one child welfare case are commonly used in Utah

A Utah judge ruled that a certain type of drug test was “not sufficiently reliable" in a couple’s legal effort to be reunified with their children, but Utah’s child welfare agency isn’t signaling any plans to stop using the tests it’s relied on increasingly over the last two years.  
2 days ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest password, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
3 days ago
Delric Ellington and Kael Ellington talk about a stray bullet that entered their Salt Lake City hom...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Amid increase in youth shooting deaths, Utah pediatricians push for tougher gun laws

The number of Utah children and teens killed by gunfire reached a record high in 2020, in part because of a spike in homicides. Two Utah pediatricians are calling on the state to pass what they see as solutions to the troubling trend.
6 days ago
Albee Bostrom and Sissy McDade turned their love of thrift store shopping into a business: Thrift H...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Second-hand shopping, selling surge as Utahns try to beat rising prices

Data shared with the KSL investigators shows Utahns are trying to bring in more money and reduce spending as they try to bust inflation.
6 days ago
Bry Hansen visits his son's grave in South Jordan. (Tanner Siegworth/KSL TV)...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

The number of Utah kids and teens dying by gunfire hit a record high in 2020

The state hit a devastating milestone in 2020, recording the highest-ever number of shooting deaths among Utahns 18 and younger.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Personal cyber insurance emerges as a new online safeguard, but do you need it?