No, you’re not reading that wrong! How you behave online can have a considerable impact on your insurance. Our private lives are now lived out in public, more than ever before, which can have a negative affect on our lives overall. For example, professionally, what we post online can be scrutinised before interviews with potential employers or even by a current employer, client or customer.
All too often social media privacy settings are neglected and when it comes to the security of your home and possessions that can be dangerous.
Harris Balcombe, a leading loss assessor, is here to explain the strange relationship between your social media activity and your insurance, with some expert-advice on what you can do about it…
“Off for a week in the sun”
Yes, it’s a seemingly innocent announcement that we’ve all made on social media before a holiday. While this wouldn’t have been an issue, even a few years ago, thieves and potential burglars are becoming more savvy. Think about what that sort of announcement says about your home…
“I’m away from the house, day and night, for a week”
“Any issues at my house won’t be discovered for days”
Criminals who target homes, can now begin to dig a bit more through you and your friend’s social media profiles. Potentially it won’t take long to find out if you live alone, have travelled away with a partner and even find the area where you live. Photos of your home, garden and street will also serve as clues, as well as your place of work while updates on your timeline might also give hints about your location.
They may also take your car into account, another valuable possession which will be left unattended for a week or so. Glancing through your photos, thieves will be able to find the model of your car and even your number plate. As you can see, photos and announcements that are innocently posted online, can be valuable pieces of information, especially when left in the wrong hands.
How can this affect my insurance?
If you’ve become a victim of theft and/or a burglary, then your insurance company may want to check your social media profiles. Unfortunately, if insurers find any information that might have encouraged the crime, they may invalidate your entire claim.
Just like any other claim, insurers will want evidence that you took “reasonable care” to secure your property and possessions. Misuse of social media may affect the settlement you’re looking to claim.
What can I do?
Luckily, there are some social media steps you can take to reduce the risk of invalidating your insurance claim:
All your social media accounts have privacy settings. You can adjust your settings so that only certain friends can see your updates, photos and other personal or revealing information.
2. Restrict your personal details
You don’t have to include any personal details on your Facebook profile such as relationships, location and job if you choose not to.
3. Avoid potential dangerous updates
Even with privacy settings, it’s still a good idea to avoid posting details about your holiday or “checking in” to certain places that are further afield and show you’re not in the area.
4. Don’t show off
New car? Great! Keep it yourself and don’t shout about your brand-new possessions.
5. Social common sense
What you share and who you share it with comes down to basic common sense. You wouldn’t tell every stranger on the street that your house will be unoccupied, so don’t tell them online. Yes, how you behave online could be detrimental to your insurance policy and subsequent settlements but this is something you are in control of.
Read more about securing your home whilst you are away here.