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Twitter Birds

Social Media is a part of everyday life for most Americans. Each day, millions of people post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks. These accounts are not as private as you think. And Insurance companies are using this fact to underwrite new policies and investigating claims.

I have seen it happen personally with commercial general liability and workers compensation. When I submit an insurance application to my underwriters for a quote and tell them the company is not roofing — but there is a picture of someone on a house hammering a roofing nail on a shingle on their website or posted on Facebook — what does that say about your company? We have all heard the saying A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words.

If you are applying for life insurance and you have pictures of you skydiving out of a plane, or if you're out at a party with a cigarette in your hand, it can cause problems for the application. This is particularly the case if you stated specifically on the application that you do not engage in any dangerous activities or have not smoked in the last 10 years. Now, the insurance adjusters are going to start asking more questions, because they don't trust you.

It is best to tell the truth. Yes, it may affect your rate, or maybe even hinder the offering of coverage. But it is better to know that upfront than to think you have coverage, only to see it denied later for false misrepresentation on an application.

If you were involved in car accident, and you posted on social media about it, then you would likely file a claim. The claims adjuster may do some research on you to see if the statement you gave and the facts that you posted on Facebook match up. If they don't, this could throw up a red flag and slow down the payment process.

Homeowners insurance companies usually have a list of dog breeds that they won't cover liability for. What if you post a picture of you and your dog on a walk on social media? Nothing wrong with that, right? But let's say later you face a lawsuit and that social picture of you and your pit bull from earlier surfaces. That could cause the claim to be denied.

Additionally, when you show your pictures of yourself on vacation, that lets every burglar in town know that you are out of town. I know you want to show off your kids on the beach or where you had a beer on your European vacation, but it might be better to post those when you get back, not as a timeline for all the world to see.

Now, more than ever, social media can affect you at work, school and even your insurance. Be careful what you post. It could come back to bite you.

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