Yes, it can. I’ll show you how.
In my last column, I talked about Social Media Sally. She’s like many people you might know; Sally loves to share her life with friends and family on social media.
That’s ok, until Sally has a major car accident. She’s hurt and in the hospital. It takes her weeks to recover before she can go back to work. So, Sally has more time than usual on her hands, and time plus WiFi equals more posts!
Sally shares her struggle to get better with her friends online. She’s a fighter, and tries to stay positive. Soon after the accident, she even had dinner at a local restaurant with friends. Of course, she checked in and shared it online.
It was difficult physically, but it helped her stay positive and get better.
Her insurance company didn’t see it that way.
They used that post to allege that Sally was not hurt as badly as she said she was. Claims were denied.
All because of an innocent post.
Insurance adjusters investigate your social media.
I know that sounds creepy, but it’s true. The life you live online is usually public. The “old days” of an insurance investigator following you around with a camera is just that… the old days.
Now, investigators stay in their offices and look at social media for hours on end. Your social media.
Because social media is “fair-game” for claims investigators, let me share three areas in which to be cautious online after an accident. (This is not meant as a method to defraud an insurance company. Always tell the truth when asked.)
Don’t post things that could be misunderstood by people whose job it is to look for fraud. Even though you are innocent, like Social Media Sally, it’s better to not raise flags. And don’t think deleting or hiding your posts will help; that can raise suspicion. Insurance companies have been known to subpoena social media companies to get old deleted posts. It’s best to be “Social Media Silent” after your accident.
I highly recommend not posting photos online of the accident or the damage to your car. Photos can be misleading, and can raise a claims adjuster’s eyebrow. You don’t want your version of what happened to be contradicted by an unclear or misunderstood photo.
After an accident, it’s easy to overshare on social media. Your emotions are in high gear. Some common “gotchas” that claims adjusters can use against you are:
- Saying you feel fine. That could contradict the claim you made for injuries.
- Laughing online with your friends about what a terrible driver you are.
- Sharing your feelings of guilt. They are feelings; they are not always fact. Be careful.
This is a tough pill for some, but please…. stay off social media until your claim is completely resolved. Especially if it’s a potentially large claim. Go old-school. Use that computer in your hand as a phone, not as a social media press release.
You can’t get in trouble for what you didn’t say. Be safe and be quiet.
Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates helping clients with insurance needs for personal, commercial and business insurance. Bruce can be reached at 707-931-0186, firstname.lastname@example.org