Where Internet Security Meets Homes Security
It’s a mistake that everyone makes. Friends are stuck in the rat race, working the 9-5, while we’re sat by the pool or seeing the world – and it’s tempting to want to make them jealous. Whether to produce envy, or simply to inspire awe, we decorate our social media profiles with photos and stories from our travels, documenting our journeys for all to see. I am as guilty of this as the next person, having posted photos of the family camping and moaning about traffic on the M3.
If the unthinkable should still happen and you’re property is damaged or broken into, at least you can fall back on your insurance to get you up and running again – or, will you? As long as you follow these steps, you should enjoy a safe and secure trip.
Harmless though this may seem, advertising our travels can invite unwanted visitors with sinister intentions into our lives, and even worse, can leave us without a means for recovery. Read on to discover exactly what you are risking if you advertise your travels through social media.
For many people, the term Facebook ‘friends’ can actually refer to acquaintances from a distant past, friends of friends, or even people they’ve only met once on a night out or at a party. Equally, many people leave their Twitter security settings far more relaxed than they do other social media accounts. Posting your holiday plans on either platform is therefore similar to sharing your travels with strangers, and doing so can greatly increase the risk of a burglary while you are away.
It’s all too easy to post a simple declaration of excitement or to inadvertently allow your children to share your holiday plans on their profile. An innocent ‘Can’t wait to be in Mallorca this time next week!’ can easily be interpreted as an advertisement that your property will be unprotected, if seen by the wrong eyes. Keep details of your travels to close friends, family, and your employer, and be sure to tell them in person or through a private form of online communication. You never know when your friends might have left their social media profiles logged in on a public computer, be that at a library or an internet café, and you never know the intentions of those who may be looking over their shoulder.
The same goes for sharing pictures while you’re away from home. Though tempting, uploading photos may reveal your location, especially if your smartphone has location settings turned on or if your picture is captioned. Snap away while you’re on holiday, but wait until you come home to upload your pictures, unless you want to risk coming home to an empty house. You will save roaming fees too.
To make matters worse, many insurance companies may reject your claim if you’ve been giving away details of your absence online. If your house is burgled whilst you’re away, insurance providers may check your social media accounts, and if you’ve made it obvious that you’re away from home, your claim may be denied.
This is because it is your responsibility to guard against theft as much as you possibly can do. This means taking an active role in protecting your house, for example, by ensuring doors are locked and a burglar alarm is set, but also by keeping your travel details private. When I took out a policy with Avanti travel insurance last year, I did not read the whole policy document – I certainly shared several photos of me enjoying myself on holiday! Not advertising that you are away from home is good practice, regardless of the terms of the policy.
The best thing you can do to protect against a break-in is to use common sense. Don’t tell the world that you aren’t going to be at home, don’t even tell you’re long list of Facebook friends or Twitter followers, prevention is better than cure after all. Don’t advertise your travels; don’t advertise your property.