If you are an active social media user and your home is damaged in a major storm or other natural disaster, it may be tempting to post photos or comments about the damage online. But, while some posts may be harmless, others could end up having a drastic impact on your homeowner’s insurance claim.
As a result, before you post anything showing or discussing damage that may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, it is important to understand the potential consequences involved.
How Insurance Companies Use Policyholders’ Posts on Social Media
When you file an insurance claim, your adjuster may look you up on social media. This is not because he or she wants to be your “friend” or “like” your posts, but rather because his or her job entails finding information that can be used against you. Insurance companies will deny policyholders’ claims if they can find any reasonable (or, in some cases, unreasonable) basis to do so, and this includes making use of photos and information that policyholders post online.
Examples of evidence that insurance adjusters will often try to find online include:
- Photos that show or suggest the possibility of pre-existing damage
- Policyholders’ statements admitting fault or neglect (regardless of whether policyholder is actually legally responsible)
- Statements or photos suggesting that the policyholder failed to take appropriate steps to mitigate the damage
- Statements or photos the insurance company can use to allege that the policyholder’s claim is fraudulent
- Statements or photos the insurance company can use to avoid having to declare the covered property a total loss
To illustrate, let’s consider a hypothetical example: A home catches fire while the family is out for a movie night. The fire resulted from an electrical malfunction, but one of the homeowners posts online, “I can’t believe my house burned down. Worst of all, I think I might have forgotten to turn off the stove.” While the homeowner’s fear turns out to be unfounded, the simple fact that this potential admission is out there could wreak havoc on the family’s efforts to quickly secure the money they need to rebuild their home.
Tips for Avoiding Issues with Your Insurance Claim on Social Media
With these considerations in mind, when you are dealing with your insurance company, it can be best to stay off of social media altogether. Even if you post something that seems harmless, there is still a chance that your insurance company will find a way to use it against you. If you absolutely must stay on social media, make a concerted effort to avoid posting anything that has anything to do with your insurance claim, and consider adjusting your account settings so that your posts can only be seen by people you know. This is not fool-proof (your connections may still be able to share your posts publicly), but it will help reduce the risk of your social media posts finding their way into your insurance adjuster’s hands.
Property Damage Insurance Claim? Contact an Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Of course, none of this is meant to suggest covering up a fraudulent claim, and we cannot offer you legal advice unless you schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys. To learn more about protecting your rights during a property damage insurance claim in South Florida, call our Fort Lauderdale offices at (954) 767-6333 or request a consultation online today.