Online Posts Could Directly Impact Insurance Coverage

What insurance policy holders do in their daily lives may not be so private.

Source: CBS2 News | Published on March 25, 2019

Female using her mobile phone outside at night

If you’re posting any information publicly online, your insurance company could be using it to determine your coverage, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Thursday.

Posing in front of a great white shark and dangling your feet out the side of a helicopter — those types of pictures may get you likes on Instagram, but only dislikes from your insurance company, which could consider it dangerous, tech experts say.

“Especially for claims, they look into social media, looking to see if someone’s driving a motorcycle without a helmet or posting pictures drinking and smoking,” said Duarte Pereira, senior VP of FitechGelb.

Experts say searching your online presence could become a standard practice of the insurance underwriting process that could affect life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, and even pet insurance.

For example, posting while driving could label you as a distracted driver and impact your policy renewal. By sharing your family’s vacation online, insurers could claim you put your home at risk to burglars. Even snapping a selfie with your new dog without disclosing the pet could affect your home insurance, CBS2’s Duddridge reported.

“Variables like pets can impact your underwriting, especially certain breeds of pets,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO of the Insurance Information Institute. “The one thing we encourage the customer to know and to do is to ask questions of their insurer.”

In January, New York state issued new guidelines to protect consumers and requires insurers to prove when social media data use is justified.

“Nowadays, everybody just post a selfie without knowing what could happen,” resident Alfredo Rodriguez said.

“We need to be careful about what we post to social media, anyway. That’s the reason I don’t use Facebook at all,” Ananya Restogi said.

But tech experts say there may actually be a few things you can do to clean up or reverse your profile.

“Posting things like running a marathon or doing exercise,” Pereira said.

That is, if you’re looking to improve your life insurance coverage, not if you claimed an injury. But most importantly, insurers say always be honest with your providers.

Insurers say, especially if you filed an injury claim, no pictures should be popping up of you parasailing or skydiving.