How social media may determine your insurance costs

The health insurance industry wants to keep costs down and social media is one tool it’s using to determine your premium. If you thought it was only a prospective employers checking your Facebook pages and tweets, think again.

Increasingly health insurance companies are doing more than simply asking individuals about their health history – they are investigating for themselves what you are up to using your social media platforms.

In 2007 CEO Michael Fertik appeared in the US media detailing how social networking profiles have become valuable resources for insurance companies looking to increase their premiums.

Ensuring the more risqué photos and status updates stay clear of prospective employers is a now more of a norm. But how do manage what your health insurer – or other insurance provider – may take into account charging her premiums?

As companies use social media for marketing and strategy alike, here are four social media practices that could jeopardize your insurance costs:

  • You “like” dangerous activities. Shark cage diving in Cape Town is a worldwide hit, but it less appealing to an insurance company. Admitting you are unfit or broadcasting your latest unhealthy meal at a local takeout is also a red flag for insurance companies.
  • Appearing lax with your privacy. Hundreds of companies on the web offer customers access to your personal data and are happy to give it away to other companies willing to pay for it. With high incidents of fraud, protecting your privacy absolute must to assure insurance companies you take necessary steps to secure yourself against fraud.
  • Showcasing expensive items. Your valuable jewelry, art and collectibles all matter to home insurance companies. If your location and possessions are open for the world to see, insurers get edgy.
  • Revealing holiday plans – keep it on the down-low. For some, this may just be the last straw. At the end of the day, who does not want to share their holiday plans? But evidence of frequent travel can have the effect of showing you to be a high risk profile – both due to the risks associated with travel and the fact that you will be away from an insured home. It may be that its actually best to turn off location-based services on Twitter and Facebook, unless you absolutely need to use them.

According to to the UK Telegraph, Darren Black, head of home insurance for, says he wouldn’t be surprised if insurance providers consider pricing one’s level of social media activity into an individual’s risk profile.



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