Does Posting your Holiday Photos on Social Media whilst on Holiday Invalidate your Household Insurance?

Great Holiday, Great Photo, Great Time?

But did you know that by posting your holiday photos whilst on holiday,  not only tells your friends and family you’re having a great time, it also advertises to Burglars that you’re on holiday and your house is empty!   Especially now as posts include the location of where and when you posted the photo.

“So What?” you might say, “I’m Insured!!!”…          But are you?   And that’s the point!

As if finding out you have been burgled when you get back from holiday isn’t bad enough, did you know that many insurers now have an exclusion stating that if you post photos advertising the fact that you are on holiday, you may not be covered if your house gets burgled!!  And it’s only a matter of time before the other Insurers follow

Insurers are increasingly rejecting claims made by customers who advertise the fact they are on holiday on social media like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

The industry is so concerned that The Financial Ombudsman (FOS), The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and even the police have issued warnings about posting on social media whilst away.

Even if your insurer does not have a specific Social Media Exclusion, they will have a General Condition often called a ‘Duty of Care’ or ‘Reasonable Care’ Clause which states that you must take all reasonable precautions to try and prevent a claim.  Advertising the fact that you are on holiday is like placing an advert on your front lawn stating your house is empty!!!  You just wouldn’t do it, would you?  And yet everyday people post that they are off on holiday and some people even post the flights they are on!!!   From your flight number the burglar can work out when you are due to return and even if you are delayed!! 

You are not alone – Even some celebrities have returned to a ransacked house after posting about being away! 

It’s true that there is no black and white definition of whether posting on social media would be classed as a breach of the general conditions of ‘Duty of Care’ or ‘Reasonable Care’ and although Insurance Companies will vary in how they deal with a claim of this nature.  It’s also true that many insurers will take an objective view of whether you have breached this clause or not,  but why take the chance?  Is it really that important to tell your friends and family?  Most of whom will know you are on holiday anyway.  Is it worth that much to show off to your friends or work colleagues that you’re sunning yourself or skiing in the Alps, whilst they’re struggling at work?     It’s just not worth taking the chance.

So what can I do?   It’s simple: 

Wait Until you get Back. – Don’t check in on Facebook as soon as you get to the Airport or Hotel.

Just like in the old days when people used to bore friends and family with photos of their holiday when they came back off holiday;   you do the same, not bore them but wait until you get home before you post your photos. 

Lock Down your Social Media. – Keep your social media settings private,  so only your friends and family can see them.  Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security in thinking that it’s only your friends that can see your posts;  this is often not the case.

Check your Friends List.  Are there people on your friends list who you have never met and are they who they say they are.  Have a cull of anyone who shouldn’t be there.  That casual friend or friend request from a stranger may not be all it seems.

Remove personal details you don’t need.   Do you really need to have your full date of birth or address online?  Check online to see just what you can find out about yourself;  you will be surprised and more than a bit worried I bet.

Make sure you’re not tagged.  You might not be posting photos whilst away but what about your friends?  Have they tagged you in any photos?  Ask them not to tag you or better yet warn them and only post when you’re all home.  Adjust the setting in your social media so you are not automatically tagged.  Likewise adjust the setting so you can review anything you are tagged in.

Check your insurance policy to see if it has a specific social media exclusion (read the small print) or contact your broker who will do the same.

and finally Turn off Location Services…  If you’ve got this on and linked to your social media then it will post the location of exactly where you are. If you’ve tagged yourself at Home then they can work out where you live!!

 Remember the priority is not to get burgled in the first place.

Oh and if you’re going on holiday don’t forget your travel insurance but that’s another story!!!!