You’re a social media junkie. You hang out for hours on Facebook, you tweet like you’re a bird welcoming spring back after the long winter. Heck, you’ve even been known to try to communicate with the sparse crowds on Google+. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But anything taken to extremes is, well, extreme, and it can bring the law of unintended consequences into play. Going too far with social media, for example, can affect your home insurance.
You always let everyone know where you are and what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter too much if you’re just going to the corner McClane’s for a GruBurger and some fries – but could matter a lot if you’re announcing to crooks that you’re going to be gone for the night. It could especially matter if your profile isn’t particularly secretive about where you live. Unless you’ve mastered the ever-evolving Facebook privacy rules, your post could be seen by nearly anyone.
What’s the big deal? Well, if you announce you’re eating at Chris’ Chris Steakhouse – and the time you’re going to be there – it’s not too hard for a criminal to figure out you’ll be out of the house for a while. That gives him a definite window to break in, look through your stuff and get out of there – maybe even before you finish posting a photo of your crabtini appetizer.
It gets even worse when you go on vacation. If you’re posting photos from a cruise ship, then a crook casing the house – and lurking on your Facebook profile – has a pretty good idea he can wait for his opportunity to strike without you being there.
The end result: You come home and find a bunch of stuff missing from your house – all your electronics, some cash you left on the bar and other valuable items. You could be cleaned out before you clear customs and you’d never even know it until you get back home.
Of course, you can file a claim under your home insurance policy for your missing stuff. But that doesn’t solve everything. You’ll be out your deductible, for one thing. And the end result could be an increase in your homeowners insurance premium.
The better option: Keep your friends in suspense a little. Post your photos and updates AFTER you get home, whether it’s from a restaurant or a vacation. You can still be social – just don’t give too much information away.