Social networkers to see home insurance prices rise

Posting location could be classed as negligence

Social networkers who use location-based services such as Facebook Places should expect to see their home insurance premiums rise, says Confused.com.

The online insurance firm, which predicted earlier this year using social networks could plead to hikes in insurance premiums, issued the warning after a burglary scam in the US saw 50 homes broken into and $100,000 worth of goods stolen.

The criminals used Facebook to monitor when web users 'checked in' to places on the social network, highlighting the fact they were away from home, and then targeted the empty properties.

"What's happened in the US could be the start of a worrying trend and if insurance providers see it as a potential risk, you can bet your home contents on the fact they'll start pricing for it," Gareth Kloet, head of home insurance, at Confused.com

"Something like Places on Facebook broadcasts people's locations on a platform which has 500 million users - you don't need to be an insurance provider to see the risk that poses. I wouldn't be surprised if we see rises of up to 10 percent for social media users in the future."

Kloet said criminals are increasingly using the web to help gather information and insurance providers are starting to take this into account when they are assessing claims.

"We may, in future, see insurers declining claims if they believe the customer was negligent," he said.

"We would always recommend that our customers have adequate security and insurance in place to protect them should the worst happen, however they need to be aware that home security doesn't just mean physical locks."

Confused.com also urged web users not to post home addresses or personal information on social networks, as well as turning-off location-based services and only 'following' or connecting with people you know.

See also: Geolocation causes Brits to worry about personal security

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

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