How your social media profile could affect your home insurance
Isn’t social media wonderful? You can keep in touch with friends and family, even if you’re away from home. Some people kick start their annual holiday with a picture of themselves outside their home dragging a heavy suitcase, a few snaps sipping a cappuccino in the airport then some photos lounging in a bikini on a tropical beach to make friends green with envy!
However, there’s a very good reason why you should not do this: you might be giving burglars a helping hand in targeting your home.
Social networking with criminals
According to the Financial Ombudsman, over-sharing on social media could leave you open to burglary in the real world.
One celebrity that learnt this lesson the hard way was boxer Ricky Hatton, who had a watch worth £28,000 and cash stolen from his Manchester home after he tweeted about being away in 2015.
Most people’s Facebook pages, for example, will yield useful data for burglars. There might be snaps inside your home showing valuable possessions in the background, data showing your current location, home address and details about your job (and likely salary)… All this, alongside a post saying when you’ll be away from home or out of the country.
The response from insurers
All insurance policies will contain a requirement for the policyholder to take some responsibility for protecting their property; for example, most insurers would refuse cover if you went on holiday leaving a downstairs window wide open.
If an insurer concludes that you have taken an unnecessary risk by publishing information about your absence then they may refuse to provide any compensation for loss or damage to your home. That could be a very unpleasant end to your dream holiday.
Social media and insurance claims
It is also possible for social media to trip up people making fraudulent claims on their insurance. Imagine your toddler drops your brand new phone in the toilet. You might be tempted to post a few shots of the offending infant for the amusement of your friends, before filing a claim saying it was stolen.
No matter how tight your security controls are, insurers could possibly get to see this content – for example, if it is reposted by a friend whose security settings are less stringent. It would only take a few clicks for your insurer to discover your false claim.
How to protect yourself
A little vigilance and common sense online can go a long way. Why not wait until your return to post holiday snaps, or leave out the dates about when you will be away? If you have a friend request from someone you don’t recognise, don’t just accept it. Also make sure your security settings are configured correctly.
One last thing: don’t be tempted to put in a false claim to your insurers. Unless you have a complete social media blackout, it could come back to haunt you!