WILL YOUR INSURANCE PROTECT YOU FROM A FACEBOOK LAWSUIT?

Most everyone knows that the use of social media has grown by leaps and bounds during the past decade.

What many people don’t realize are the unique risks associated with social networking.

Anyone using Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or other social networking sites should exercise extreme caution in what they decide to say online.

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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 Homeowners 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.

A good source to consider for additional coverage is a Personal Umbrella policy. This kind of policy provides additional insurance in circumstances where a loss has depleted the amounts of Liability insurance offered under a Homeowners policy. Umbrella policies usually have a deductible of $250 to $500; but have the potential to protect the policyholder from financial devastation.

As you become more exposed to risk through social networking, choose your words carefully on any social networking site. Additionally, speak with our insurance professionals to see if an Umbrella policy is a good match for your insurance needs in an increasingly risky world.

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