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Social Networkers Beware, Your Premiums Could be Headed Up

If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, using services like Foursquare — checking in here, checking in there — beware. You may be elevating your homeowners insurance premiums because you are engaging in a risky behavior. Yup. Social networking is firmly on insurers’ radar screens and they are not smiling or clicking the “like” button.

A British firm, AA Home Insurance, did a survey and turned up some startling numbers:

– 43 percent of those who responded said they check into social networking sites with their location.

– 10 percent admit they disclose their travel plans online; 8 percent say someone else in the house yaks about future trips.

– 14 percent of woman and 7 percent of males divulge their travel plans.

Hello! Why don’t you just invite the burglars in and serve them tea? The trend in the industry is toward asking about social networking participation. Higher rates may well be in store for customers who use location-based services and especially for those who are robbed and admit in the aftermath that they told everyone on Facebook they were headed out of town for a week.

If you are on social networking services, don’t put your mobile phone and home address in your profile and never “check in” at home. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know and lock your security down to “friends only.” This is a security issue that homeowners are not going to be able to contest. If you tell people you’re not home, you are engaging in a high risk behavior, and insurers are in the business of assessing risk. Bottom line. Don’t do it and make sure your kids aren’t doing it.

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