Social Media and the Homeowners Policy

The advent of social media has allowed people to communicate with each across great distances easily, cheaply and repeatedly.  Friends that have lost touched have found each other again.  Grandparents can watch their grandchildren grow up in other regions or countries right before their eyes.  People can discuss and debate the challenges facing their communities or countries in real time.  This has been a transformative change for society.  Most for the good, but not all.

One of the less discussed negatives of social media is the increase in liability exposure for the user.    We’ve all been told that anything posted to the internet will be there forever.  That means it is also discoverable and actionable.  Private conversations can end up being seen by parties other than those intended.  A posting that was meant to be funny between two people suddenly turns into a defamation of character suit when it is seen by 2,000 people.  Public conversations, like a restaurant review, can result in a libel suit.  Perhaps most frightening is that you can be held responsible for the actions and writings of your teenaged child.  So even if you don’t use social media yourself someone in your household probably does which opens the door to a possible claim.

The question is where can you turn to for protection from these kinds of suits?  The answer is your homeowner policy.  That includes a renters or condo owners policy too.  To be clear, the standard unendorsed homeowner policy does not cover these type of suits.  The standard homeowner policy provides protection for bodily injury type claims, i.e. slip and falls and dog bites.  Libel and defamation of character claims fall under the category of personal injury claims.  You may need to endorse your current homeowner policy in order to ensure coverage for personal injury claims.  The good news is that the endorsement is very reasonably priced and is not difficult to have added.

Call your insurance agent today to make sure you have this important coverage on your home policy.