With the recent launch of Google’s Street View, that now covers many rural areas, not just urban centres, potentially helping thieves identify vulnerable homes, one insurer, (L&G) reported last week that burglars were getting tech-savvy and farming such sites for information. The Timesonline state that there are fears that insurers could start to reject claims if there is evidence that policyholders have been using social networking sites.
Hiscox have already refused to insure celebrities who post details of when and where they have holidays in magazines such as Hello and OK. Hiscox said it is considering penalising customers if they regularly post details of their whereabouts on public forums. This could also include the up and coming social network foursquare.
The AA, an insurance broker, said publishing details of when your house is empty could be regarded as a breach of your duty of care and would be seriously considered by an insurer.
If this is the case, it is reported that home insurance could increase by about 10% to take account of losses due to the use of social networking sites.
L&G research shows that 38% of users of social network sites have posted details of their holiday plans, and 33% say if they are aware for the weekend. Nearly a quarter (23%) have discussed holiday plans on pages accessible to the public. About 17% have posted residential addresses that can be seen by strangers.
To ensure you are not at risk, there are a few easy steps you can take to protect yourself.
Never post your home address or other personal information, such as your home telephone number, on any social networking site.
Take care what you reveal about who you are and where you live.
Use the block others function, or its equivalent, so strangers are not able to view your profile without your permission
Finally, be careful what you post on-line, telling people that youve inherited items worth over £20,000 may not be a good idea!
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