David Canton previously mentioned privacy concerns with status updates on social media. But these concerns could translate into higher premiums for homeowners as well, simply for using social media.
The Telegraph is predicting that premiums in the U.K. could be adjusted in the future to reflect the supposed inherent risk in participating on social media platforms,
Darren Black, the head of home insurance at Confused.com, said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if, as social media grow in popularity and more location-based applications come to fore, insurance providers consider these in their pricing of an individual’s risk. We could see rises of up to 10pc for people who use these sites.
“Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their information gathering, even using Google Earth and Streetview to plan their burglaries with military precision. Insurance providers are starting to take this into account when they are assessing claims and we may in future see insurers declining claims if they believe the customer was negligent.”
The article also provides some advice to mitigate some of these risks, including not posting home address or home phone on social media platforms, refusing invites from people you don’t know, and turning off location-based services.
This last feature is becoming increasingly popular with apps like UberTwitter, which automatically updates your specific location based on cell tower proximity, and platforms like BrightKite, used specifically for finding those close to you for spontaneous meet-ups.
I would argue that any such risks vary considerably between lawyers, depending on a wide variety of factors that could include other family members who remain in the home, friends who may be house-sitting, or even neighbours committed to lending a watchful eye. Social media use in itself should not automatically raise premiums, but insurance companies could take it into consideration, and possibly provide information and tips to consumers on how to make their privacy issues more secure and address any shortcomings from their personal situations.