Social media has taken the world by storm over the past decade or so, with over 60% of Irish people having Facebook accounts.
There also are thousands of others signing up to other social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram.
The Social Network
We use social media mostly to keep in touch with friends and family, posting photographs of special occasions and holidays, and updating our contacts on our day-to-day lives. Many of us use facilities such as Facebook’s “check-in” feature, which lets our online pals know, for example, where we are holidaying or socialising.
However, what we must remember is that by making our online friends aware of our movements, we are also making some unscrupulous social media users aware that our homes are unoccupied, inadvertently exposing ourselves to burglaries.
Of course, should we fall victim to a break-in, we can surely take some comfort from the fact that we are covered by our house insurance policy, right?
Possibly not, at least not for much longer!
Potential Insurance Issues
It has been reported in the UK that insurers are increasingly checking social media accounts following break-ins, checking to see if victims of such events have announced via social media that they were away from their homes, and potentially using it as a reason not to pay out.
Most house insurance policies will have a “reasonable care” clause, meaning that home owners/occupiers must take reasonable steps in protecting their homes, such as closing and locking doors and otherwise securing the property against burglaries.
However, recently, some UK insurers have argued that those who have unwittingly confirmed online that their homes were unoccupied, were not exercising such reasonable care, were not sufficiently careful in protecting their homes and were, therefore, not covered by their house insurance policies. It remains to be seen what the Irish insurance position will be and home owners and occupiers should certainly be mindful when posting on their social media pages. If, having read this article, you are still tempted to post a holiday snap online, at the very least you should always ensure your social media security settings are sufficiently secure so that you may control precisely who sees your posts.
Remember, the next time you “check in” on social media, a burglar may be “checking out”, with your valuables!
Pause before you post!