Handbag insurance to combat female identity theft
By Emily Hutto
Among the many things we feel the need to insure, including body parts and golf games, it was only a matter of time before handbags hit the list.
After my purse and all of its contents were stolen out of a friend’s car (broken window and all), I stopped carrying a handbag for several months. I was enraged at my purse-snatcher, and decided that I wasn’t going to make myself a victim to theft any longer. I carried my I.D. and credit card in one back pocket and my set of keys in the other; I would smear on the lip balm before leaving the house and hope I wouldn’t need it while I was out. Now if the purse thieves of the world wanted to get my goods, they’d have to work a lot harder.
What I really could have used then was a new program that a bank in France just launched: handbag insurance. An article in the Chicago Tribune says that Societe Generale now offers the “Pour Elle” bank card that can provide holders with up to 200 euros, or about $250, worth of handbag theft insurance. The fancy card also offers a hotline that will provide two electrician, locksmith and other handyman callouts this year.
When my purse was stolen, my house and car keys were inside. I definitely could have gone for a bank-sponsored locksmith that night.
Some women, however, aren’t thrilled about this new insurance. “As useful as these products might be,” says the Chicago Tribune piece, “not all women are happy to be singled out by their bank as needing special help.”
I can’t ignore the reality of the fact that if I want to carry around the latest Chanel satchel, I do need special help. I’m putting myself at risk by toting around my valuables in an accessory that can easily be snatched, an accessory that in itself makes me a target for crime. A 2009 article in Forbes confirms this, citing a study by Javelin Research that reveals women are 26 percent more likely than men to be victims of identity theft. The study suggests the reason women experience identity theft more because they don’t use banking technology (such as online banking and banking apps) with high-tech privacy safeguards as much as men do. This may be the case, but I also have a hunch that if someone studied purse carrying in relationship to identity theft, they would find a direct correlation between the two.
Among the many things we feel the need to insure, including body parts and golf games, it was only a matter of time before handbags hit the list. I wonder if banks in the United States will consider adopting some form of purse protection? If not, I highly recommend my pants pocket insurance solution. The lipstick can wait until you get home.