Can Social Media Ruin Your Home Insurance Cover?
It’s something we are all slightly guilty of these days: posting on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pictures, with the intent of making our friends or family just that little bit jealous, in order to make our lives look more interesting than they actually are. Perhaps you are sitting in pyjamas eating ice cream out of the tub as you are in the middle of adding that post to social media where you are telling the world you are currently all dressed up to the nines.
Apparently, in a survey by smartphone maker HTC this year, six percent admitted they used their friend’s items in their images and passed them off as our own, and around two-thirds of us post things on social media to make our lives seem more exciting. Whilst over 75 percent of people surveyed said that they judged their mates by what they saw on their social media.
It isn’t surprising then, that many of us feel the temptation to post pictures of us sunning ourselves on holiday. So much so experts have called dubbed the phenomenon as ‘Insta-bragging’, referring to our images taken on holiday that are boastful in nature.
However, you might actually be at risk of invalidating your home insurance by engaging in what seems like a bit of harmless Insta-bragging. We tell you why.
There is an increased chance of being burgled
Whilst it is all too easy to get caught up bathing in the warm glow of the sun with a margarita in hand, posting this snap whilst you are on holiday is taking a risk. Why? Well, you might only be posting to make your mates jealous, but you are also letting everyone know you aren’t at home, and therefore making you more susceptible to being burgled. It’s sad but true.
This also applies to posting images of your swanky new car or expensive jewellery, and you could be providing too much information to some untrustworthy people.
The ‘reasonable care clause’
When you take out home insurance, many insurers will also include a ‘reasonable care’ clause, and the Financial Ombudsman Service is warning people that bragging about being on holiday means you could invalidate this clause. In the UK, we have seen an increase in burglaries. Why? Well, concerns have been raised that it has been a result of people essentially advertising their absence through posting holidays snaps. As a result, this could invalidate a claim made if in the worst case scenario, you ended up with items stolen from your home whilst abroad.
These days, a considerable number of insurance companies are viewing posting pictures online of your absence in much the same way as any other breach of security, such as leaving doors or windows unlocked at night, as this is seen as engaging in reckless behaviour. This means you can end up with a pay-out being reduced, or even not paid out at all. So take precautions and be aware of your online behaviour when on holiday!
You could invalidate travel insurance too
Similarly, it is also important to note that you could end up accidentally voiding travel insurance by uploading images to Facebook. If for example you only have holiday insurance for up to 30 days, but make it clear on social media that you are actually going to be trekking across the globe for four months, well, you can see how this could end up causing you problems in the future.
Steps you can take to minimise risk to your home and travel insurance
Feeling a bit stressed out now about getting burgled as a result of holiday snaps? Don’t worry, here are a few simple tips that should hopefully keep you and your items out of harm’s way:
- Make sure your security settings on social media are regularly updated. Sites such as Instagram and Facebook often change them every few months, so check your settings before going away.
- Check your friend list. Are you happy with who can see these posts? Do you have lots of people on Facebook who you’ve only met once years ago? School friends you are no longer in contact with? It might be time to have a little deleting friend spree if you aren’t sure who you can trust.
- Turn off locational data when you post images on social media, this can reveal your whereabouts and therefore where you live.
- Think more carefully about posts you share online – is making your address public or saying when your birthday is completely necessary?
- Typing your name on Google to see what personal information is out there about you can be another way to improve security.
- Do not announce online when you are going on holiday and for how long.
- Avoid checking-in at airports wherever you are.
- When going away, make sure that it looks like there are currently people in there. Perhaps get a family member or friend to come and take the bins out, and get any milk or newspaper deliveries cancelled prior to your holiday so that a collection of bottles or papers do not end up gathering at your doorstep.
Whilst it may seem slightly pessimistic and depressing to take these sort of precautions, it is necessary. Unfortunately, you do not always know who is looking at these images, and the thoughts they might be having. So be smart, do everything you can to maximise your security, and then enjoy your holiday, you deserve it!