The use of social media has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two decades. What many people don't realize are the unique risks that come along with social networking. Anyone using Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or other social networking sites should exercise extreme caution in what they decide to say online.
As an example, in 2009 a teenager in New York sued some of her classmates and their parents, accusing the classmates of bullying and humiliating her in a Facebook Forum. Whether or not the allegations are true, the teenagers and their parents require legal resources to pay for the possible judgments against them.
Many people believe a standard homeowner's insurance policy will cover them in such a situation. In fact, it probably will not provide the necessary coverage. A standard policy covers bodily injury or property damage done to someone else. It defines bodily injury as sickness, harm or disease, and it defines property damage as destruction of or injury to physical property. Neither definition includes publishing or saying something that injures another person's reputation. Hence, the policy is not likely to cover a Facebook post. In other words, the policy is unlikely to cover the act of making someone else feel miserable due to social networking.
These types of claims are not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You need to have personal injury coverage. Personal Injury coverage is an optional endorsement on the standard homeowner’s policy that provides protection for libel, slander, defamation of character, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and wrongful eviction. This coverage is also provided by most umbrella policies. Personal Injury coverage is relatively inexpensive and helps provide protection in an area where losses are expected to become more common. It is important to note that coverage excludes acts where the insured knew the information was false or that it would violate the rights of another. The act must be an innocent mistake.
As Americans become more exposed to risk through social networking, they should choose their words carefully on any social networking site. Additionally, they should speak with an insurance professional to add the very inexpensive personal injury endorsement to their homeowner’s insurance policy.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -
Emerge Insurance Agency
5991 Chester Avenue, Suite 103
Jacksonville, FL 32217