How your home insurance relates to your social media accounts
Sipping your Pina Colada, watching the children splashing about in the pool, you lazily post a picture-perfect snap on Instagram. #holidaytime
It’s the summer holidays and every second photo on my Facebook and Instagram feeds is of friends enjoying their holidays with their families. I love all the smiling faces and quite often pick up on great ideas for future holidays too! But sharing your holiday countdown or photographs of your holidays while you are actually there is not a good idea at all. I used to do it, but now don’t share any photos of our holidays on my social media profiles until after we have returned. Here’s why…
When you post your real-time photos to social media or tag yourself at far away destinations saying that you are on holiday, you are advertising that you aren’t home.
Here’s a snap shot of some of my friends’ recent posts (don’t worry there are no names and they are all safely back from holidays so there’s no risk of any cheeky burglars using this post to feed their exploits!)
GPS location tracking is activated AND announcing they aren’t back from Malta until the next day…
This one is advertising the house will be empty for a full TWO WEEKS!
Announcing a holiday ahead of time also gives potential criminals a good heads up…
Whilst you don’t expect your friends to head over and break in to your house while you are gone, do you really know who can see your posts? How safe does this make your house? You could be inadvertently encouraging a break-in. With the information available through your social media profiles, it often doesn’t take much searching to trace where you live…
Take ‘reasonable care’ to keep your property safe
It is the most distressing experience to be burgled; we’ve had it happen to us once (although not while on holiday). I hate to imagine what it would be like to return from a relaxing holiday to be faced with that fear and then anger. Then imagine the added pain if after you make the claim for your possessions which have been stolen, your insurer refused to pay out.
Your insurer will check your social media accounts for evidence of whether you have publicised your holiday. Insurance policies require the owner to take ‘reasonable care’ to secure their home and belongings. They would argue that publicising your absence on social media is not adhering to this requirement; your actions are not consistent with protecting your home and its contents. It’s simple; if you want to avoid being refused a payout from your insurer if you are burgled on holiday, don’t over-share on social media while you are away.
Protecting yourself : sensible social media use
- Who actually needs to see your posts? If you haven’t had a good de-friending session recently, do it! If you wouldn’t say hello to someone in the supermarket, do they need to know your whereabouts?
- Check your privacy settings regularly. Straightforward but when did you last do this? Social media platforms can often change privacy rules so it pays to be on top of your settings.
- Set the tagging function on your profile to ‘approve’. If you are tagged at a venue, you then have the option to delete the tag if you don’t want to publicise that you are there. This is important; you may be extremely careful with your own posts but if a friend tags you at a hotel abroad, bang, everyone knows you are there.
- It’s a good idea to google your social media profiles and see what other people can see. This helps you to think about what you are sharing and if you really want the world and his wife to see it. It’s easy to edit your profile to take away your birthday, your hometown etc.
- Check-ins: if you check in at a location e.g. a hotel, be aware that your post will show on their (often public) page. This means anyone who looks at their page can see your post and not just your friends.
- Switch off your GPS location tracker whilst you are on holiday – this way any posts you make are not posted from where you are.
- Similarly, even when you are home, if you want to post that you are just chilling at home watching Saturday night TV, avoid attaching the locational data. This just makes it harder to determine where your home is located for any potential burglar.
As social media platforms evolve and usage becomes the norm, people are sharing more and more of their lives. You wouldn’t put a massive sign out on your front gate saying that you aren’t home when you go on holiday so don’t do the equivalent online. Think about what you share on social media if you don’t want to invalidate your home insurance.
This is the third post in relation to money and holidays. Click here to check out the earlier posts on the easy way to spend abroad with a pre-paid Monzo debit card and why its best to choose local currency when spending on card abroad.