Everyone in my family, with the exception of my dad, is active on social media. We’re all out there on that thing called the Internet. My family keeps it pretty low key, but that’s not always the case for some. We all know that one person that social media is EVERYTHING to them—they use it to argue with people on politics, maybe it’s their personal diary, or heaven forbid both. Then there are the community pages that take everything to the next level. Social media has become a free-for-all on freedom of speech. We have this right for a reason, but make sure you have the coverage you need if it gets you into a pickle.
Should you worry about what your tween is putting on Twitter or your spouse's Instagram post? All it takes is for one tweet to be misconstrued from conversation to defamation, or one image to invade another’s privacy. People are so quick to file lawsuits for these exact things so it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your family in the case the best intentions are misunderstood.
A homeowner’s policy typically has coverage for liability up to a certain limit. Liability is going to protect you against unintentional property damage and bodily injury that you’re responsible for. For example, if someone trips and falls in our yard from a loose paver my homeowner’s liability will protect me and pay for medical costs and lost work time cost. If you have a covered claim, your policy will pay can also pay for legal defense costs and any settlements or awards you become legally obligated to pay.
In addition to bodily injury, a person can also suffer “personal injury.” These non-physical injuries can include wrongful eviction, false arrest, defamation, libel, and violation of privacy. The standard homeowners policy does not cover these claims and many times this coverage must be specifically added.
You know that famous saying that states everything lives forever on the Internet? It’s true. Once posted on social media, your words become public. Social media claims typically center around defamation of character, libel, and invasion of privacy. A perfect example is the case with Erin Andrews. A guy took pictures of her from a hotel window and posted them for the world to see. When the pictures leaked she filed a large lawsuit for invasion of privacy among other things and to no one’s surprise won. Since no one has suffered any bodily injury, your homeowners policy won’t cover you unless you have personal injury coverage. If you don’t have the coverage prior to the incident any legal defense costs, settlements or damages will come out of your pocket.
Usually the amount of coverage you have for this is going to be only up to a certain limit, usually $100,000, $300,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000. Since legal defense can be pricey lower limits typically don’t last very long. The best solution is to have a personal umbrella policy. This will act as an umbrella over your liability and give you those higher limits you need in order to protect your bank account.
If you have questions over your policy, ECI is always here. Contact us for an Oklahoma City homeowners insurance quote today.