You recently suffered several painful injuries as a result of a drunk driver plowing into you in the middle of an intersection. Your husband immediately filed an insurance claim as you were held up at the hospital. Once you were released and finally back in the comfort of your own home, you had nothing better to do than play around on Facebook.
So you wrote all about the accident, uploaded photos so your family and friends could see the damage, and periodically updated your status on how you were trying to move around with assistance.
A week later, you get a phone call from the insurance company denying your claim. They claimed to have evidence that you were not injured and did not need treatment. You tried to explain to them that this wasn’t the case, but they insisted that they had evidence from your own mouth (well, own Facebook page) stating that you could move by yourself and were healing fine.
How did they get that information? Are they stalking you? Better yet, how can a silly post to reassure your loved ones cost you your injury settlement?
Top Five Social Media Sites Trolled by Insurance Adjusters
According to a National Association of Insurance Commissioners report, social media sites are lucrative assets to the insurance community. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow insurance companies to increase exposure and build trust with clients and potential clients. However, in addition to free advertising, insurance companies are also using social media as a means to deny accident and injury claims.
This is why it is extremely important to monitor what you post, when you post it, and how it may affect your claim. You should pay special attention when posting to the following sites, as they are the most popular sites for insurance companies to patrol:
- Facebook. With more than 1.4 billion users, Facebook is the leading social media outlet for adults. Nearly half of the U.S. population routinely uses a Facebook account. Unfortunately, insurance companies know this is the most popular place for people to chronicle their daily events, including details, photos, and memes about their accidents.
- Twitter. On a daily basis, Twitter welcomes nearly 135,000 new users. The ease with which people can broadcast their thoughts and photos, tweet their opinions, and gossip about pretty much anything (including accidents), makes it another popular place for insurance adjusters to troll for damaging information.
- YouTube. Videos of you dancing, partying, or engaging in other high-energy activities when you’re supposed to be injured will make an insurance adjuster suspicious of the severity of your injury, as well as the accuracy of your entire claim.
- Google+. Activity, discussions, and posts on Google+ can also hurt your claim if you're talking about your specific accident, posting pictures of your injuries, or allowing friends to discuss the incident in detail. Also, be wary of automatic “cloud” uploads of photos from your phone to your Google+ account.
- Foursquare (or any “check-in” apps). Publicly broadcasting your whereabouts while your claim is on-going can be extremely damaging. Suspicion may arise if you claim to have a broken ankle, yet you “check-in” at a dance club, or you filed that your wrist is fractured, yet you’re currently at a pottery class.
Don’t give the adjuster reason to suspect your claim. Stay away from publicly posting anything that may question your claim or hurt your chances for a proper settlement. Another option is to make all of your social media accounts private, so that only approved followers can see them. If you feel like you need to share with your friends about the accident, don’t do it where the world can see it.
Let it Out: Finding a Safe Place to Freely Talk About Your Accident
Although Facebook, Twitter and all social media are meant to be public, do you think insurance companies should be allowed to use your personal profiles against you? Should you be able to discuss your accident freely with your friends? What about getting advice and comfort from your followers?
Let us know what you think by leaving your opinions and questions in the comment section. Your experiences will help us learn more about societal opinions as a whole, and will allow you to talk about your concerns without the fear of your words being used against you. You may also help our clients (people like you) get the reassurance and support they desperately need after an accident.