Last Updated on March 22, 2023
Identity Guard vs LifeLock represent the two best all-around identity theft protection services on the market. They compare well to everything else out there, simply offering more than the average contender.
This, of course, begs the question: how do these services stack up next to each other?
Overall, they compare very well, as you might expect from two top tier services out there. Ultimately, I think Identity Guard takes the edge on this one, offering just a bit more in terms of performance than LifeLock, but both have a lot to offer a prospective user. Let’s take a look.
How Do the Ratings Work?
Each option is rated based on a simple scale from Poor to Excellent in each category. These scores determine the final score of each product, so you get an easy to understand metric of how good the service is and whether it’s worth picking up.
These ratings fall into a few distinct categories:
Value: how much the service gets you compared to its cost.
Ease of Use: how streamlined the process of using the service is.
Monitoring: how well the monitoring tools work.
Customer Service: the competence and reliability of the customer service team, as well as the available hours.
Insurance: how comprehensive the insurance plan is, if any.
|Ease of Use||Excellent||Great|
How Easy Are They to Use?
The answer for both is, thankfully, pretty easy.
The websites are well laid out and clean overall, and both make it very easy to navigate between tabs. The signup process is mercifully short, and both also easily guide you into setting up all their various services and other tidbits.
Looking at their dashboards side by side, they’re roughly equivalent, with the edge maybe going to Identity Guard for being slightly cleaner.
Of particular note is LifeLock’s desktop app, which serves as a hub for both its identity theft services and for controlling its other services, the Norton 360 security plan, which includes a VPN and antivirus service. The identity theft tools are generally pretty limited, and most just link you back to the website. It’s okay for what it is. Protection is pretty much now a necessity since identity theft could happen anytime at an unexpected moments.
This is more than can be said for Identity Guard’s mobile app, which is frankly terrible, and in my opinion best avoided. Slow loading and a clunky interface make for a frustrating experience, and it’s not worth the hassle of dealing with.
How Do the Monitoring Tools Compare?
On the whole, the two services offer the same monitoring options on their top tier programs: Ultra for Identity Guard, and Ultimate Plus for LifeLock.
These monitoring tools include:
- Bank account and credit card monitoring
- Data breach and dark web monitoring
- Sex offender and criminal monitoring
- USPS address change monitoring
- Home title monitoring
- 401(k) and investment monitoring
- 3 bureau credit reports and monitoring
All in all, this is an excellent suite of tools for both at the highest level. It’s the middle and lower tier options where things get a little weird.
Identity Guard offers basically nothing at both of its lower tiers, with very barebones monitoring. LifeLock’s Standard plan (the lowest tier option) is similarly lackluster, but at least you still get their VPN and other services.
LifeLock Advantage on the other hand is quite good as things go. It loses out on very little compared to Ultimate Plus, save for home title monitoring and 401(k) and investment monitoring. While these are key features, you can potentially save a lot of money by opting out of them, particularly if you don’t own a home.
So, in terms of content and how many things they monitor, these services are pretty much the same as each other.
The difference comes in with the power and performance of the monitoring tools.
LifeLock is, overall, not terrible but it comes off as roughly average to the rest of the market. Its monitoring is a bit slow, and misses some obvious things I’d expect to see it pick up based on the sheer number of things it monitors.
Identity Guard, on the other hand, has the best monitoring power I’ve seen. It’s both highly accurate and extremely fast. It picks up any potential alerts on your information within minutes of filling out each of the monitoring sections and activating the tools.
On this one, Identity Guard definitely takes it. The same monitoring tools, but way more effective than LifeLock’s version.
What Happens if You Actually Get Hacked?
If your identity is compromised, Identity Guard and LifeLock provide roughly the same options for you.
Both have very good customer service teams, with different advantages and disadvantages for each.
LifeLock offers 24/7 customer support, which is exactly what you want to see from a service like this. Availability is one of the main factors to look for in an identity theft protection service, because the quicker you can act, the less damage that is usually done. If you happen to get an alert at 3 in the morning on a Sunday and want to deal with it immediately? You have that option, which is amazing.
Identity Guard on the other hand does have limited hours. They’re open late, until 11 PM on weekdays, and hold what most would consider usual business hours on Saturdays (they’re available from 9 AM to 6 PM). They’re closed on Sundays entirely, which is a shame.
These hours are good compared to the average, but can’t compare to 24/7 support by any means. In terms of availability, LifeLock takes the win by a landslide.
In terms of power and competence, however, Identity Guard may have an edge. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with LifeLock’s customer service representatives. They’re friendly and eager to help, and all seem to know what they’re doing.
The difference is experience. Identity Guard’s customer service representatives typically have up to 7 years of service in the industry working with Identity Guard specifically. This means the chances of you getting on the phone with someone who has been around for a while and has compiled a better working knowledge of the trade and what needs to be done is much higher with Identity Guard.
So there is your tradeoff essentially: more experienced representatives, versus more availability. You’ll need to make a judgment call for yourself as to which is a higher priority.
For my money, I’ll take the better representatives with slightly more inconvenience, but it’s a close run race either way.
And There’s Always Insurance
In addition to their customer service options (including wallet restoration tools for both in case your wallet is stolen or lost), both services offer insurance.
In this case, Identity Guard wins hands down. Identity Guard offers $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement for each of its plans, as well as $1 million in expense reimbursement.
What this means is that if your bank accounts get drained of a total of $1 million, they’re going to cover that. But in addition to that, they’ll cover up to $1 million in collected expenses, with their own specific limitations on each category of expense. This includes lost wages from needing to take time off work, childcare costs you wouldn’t normally accrue, and the cost of hiring lawyers and other specialists.
Some of these limits are smaller than others; for example they only cover up to $2000 a week in lost wages, for up to 5 weeks. So if you’re making more than that you’re still taking a bit of a loss. But it’s certainly way better than nothing.
LifeLock, by comparison, still offers both but the lost funds reimbursement is variable by the tier.
Their Standard plan (the cheapest), for example, offers only $25, 000 in lost funds reimbursement. This might be fine for many people, but falls woefully short of what you can lose not just from bank accounts, but from credit cards being maxed out and so on. Advantage is better at a cool $100, 000, and Ultimate Plus offers the industry standard $1 million in lost funds reimbursement.
It is worth noting, however, that all tiers do still offer $1 million in expenses reimbursement; this tiered plan is only for the lost funds reimbursement portion.
So LifeLock’s insurance isn’t the worst out there (some offer less than $1 million even for their best plan), but it’s a whole lot less user-friendly than Identity Guard’s option.
Of the two services, it’s pretty easy to see that Identity Guard is a little cheaper overall. A quick look at the comparative prices (all prices use the largest discount code available ):
|Individual Annual||$6.67/month |
|Family Annual||$10.00/month |
|$16.99/month ($203.88)||$29.99/month ($359.88)||$41.99/month ($503.88)|
|$14.99/month ($179.88)||$24.99/month ($299.88)||$34.99/month ($419.88)|
|Two Adults + 5 Kids (annually)||$23.99/month ($287.88)||$36.99/month ($443.88)||$48.99/month ($587.88)|
|Two Adults + 5 Kids (annually)||$20.99/month ($251.88)||$30.99/month ($371.88)||$40.99/month ($491.88)|
LifeLock, compared to Identity Guard, has a fair bit more modularity in their pricing that might be great for many users. While on average it’s more expensive, you get more freedom on what you spend that money on which is nice.
LifeLock also offers LifeLock Junior, so you can cover children without having to pay for a second adult account you may not need.
But, Identity Guard is indeed cheaper, which is going to be the deciding factor for many people. Their family plans are less modular, but more cost effective for a lot of users.
In terms of performance there’s a bit of discrepancy, with LifeLock coming in a little lower on the totem pole, as we’ll discuss in more depth below. So you might think that LifeLock would get a poor Value rating, and under normal circumstances you’d be correct.
But LifeLock’s saving grace is how much it offers. In addition to its monitoring, threat resolution, and insurance plans, it offers a ton of extra tools, in particular their VPN and antivirus services.
These options fully explain the cost discrepancy between LifeLock and Identity Guard, and are a tempting feature for a lot of users, saving a ton of money for people who’d be paying for those services on the side otherwise.
As a result, overall value is roughly equivalent between the two services.
Both services are very nice, on the whole. It’s difficult to compare them since they offer so many similar options at similar effectiveness.
However, what really cinches the deal in Identity Guard’s favor is the monitoring and insurance. These are two of the most important factors when it comes to using an identity theft protection service. The monitoring tools are THE one thing that needs to be top of the line, and that’s what Identity Guard excels the most at.
The insurance is likewise some of the best in the business. I haven’t seen any around that are better than Identity Guard’s $1 million insurance plan at every tier. With this insurance, you are protected from fraud like medical identity theft which can cause a major financial damage and impact on your credit.
LifeLock by contrast takes the edge in a couple of minor categories, but struggles to stack up where it counts. Its monitoring is competent, but nothing special, and that’s the real shame. Their customer service team’s availability is possibly the best in the industry, given their overall level of competence and 24/7 availability, and it’s nice to get all of the little extra bits with it, but overall, it comes across as a service that’s spread a bit thin.
LifeLock offers a lot, and is pretty good at all of it. By contrast, Identity Guard offers less, and at a lower cost…but everything about it is top of the line or close to it.
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