Can Social Media Posts Hurt your Insurance Claim?
Last Updated on April 8, 2020
Social media is a constant part of our lives. Social media posts may seem innocent, but there are certain situations where posting on social media can hurt your insurance claim.
It’s true: anything you post on social media related to an accident or your injuries could hurt your insurance claim.
If you rear-ended someone at 7:35, for example, and you posted something to your Instagram story at 7:34, then investigators might conclude you were using your phone at the time of the accident.
Or, if you claim to have debilitating whiplash pain after an accident, yet social media posts show you riding roller coasters at an amusement park, then it could compromise your personal injury claim.
Anything you post on social media before, during, or after a car accident could be used against you in a lawsuit or to deny your insurance claim.
Yes, Social Media Posts Can Hurt an Insurance Claim
Your social media posts can affect your insurance claim. Some people post anything on social media with no regard for privacy settings, for example.
The things you post online may seem insignificant to you, but your posts could become significant after a car accident or during a car crash lawsuit.
You might frequently post photos of you driving, for example. That may seem innocent – but it tells investigators that you regularly use your phone behind the steering wheel, which may be illegal in your state.
Or, your social media location data could show that you live at one house when your insurance is registered to another house. You might be using your parents’ address because insurance rates are cheaper in their ZIP code, for example, while your Instagram posts are constantly tagged at your apartment downtown.
Your social media can also reveal the contact information of friends, family, and associates. Insurers may use these connections to verify information about friends or family members or check your connection to an associate.
If you claim to have collided with a stranger at an intersection, for example, but investigators discover you two are friends on Facebook, then investigators may assume you are engaging in insurance fraud.
All of this information could be used to build a case against you or hurt your insurance claim.
Type of Information Available on Social Media
You may not think you have much information about yourself on social media. However, even a basic social media profile can contain detailed information, including:
- Date of Birth
- Relationship Status
- Photos of Friends and Family
- Videos Revealing your Speaking Patterns
- Posts and Comments
Many people have information on social media going back years. Sometimes, this information can be collected from accounts you haven’t used in years. Once information is on the internet, it could be there forever.
Complicating matters further is that you may not be able to delete social media posts during an investigation: it could be considered destruction of evidence. That’s why your attorney cannot advise you to delete social media posts.
How Car Insurance Companies Investigate Social Media After an Accident
Yes, car insurance companies may check your social media if there are any disputes about your claim. They might check your social media to see if you are associated with criminals, for example, with a history of insurance fraud.
Or, they might check your social media to get information about a family member involved in the crash. If you claim your sister has severe whiplash after a car accident, for example, but a video on social media shows her partying at the club, then this could weaken your case.
Some of the things that insurers may check on social media include:
Public Information: Anything you post on social media is public, which means it could be used during a lawsuit or investigation. A defense attorney working on behalf of the insurance company will drag all available information about you from social media. They may not use most of this information, but they want to collect as much information about you as possible.
Photo Evidence and Other Details: Photos, timeline posts, stories, conversations, and location check-ins can help build a pattern of your activity.
Posts from the Time of the Incident: Investigators will pay close attention to any posts you make the day of the incident and the days after the incident. If you posted a Snapchat video of you drinking shots two hours before getting into an accident, for example, then investigators may conclude you were impaired at the time of the accident.
Friends, Family, and Other Connections: Investigators may use social media to find your friends and family. They might interview these people to build a case against you. Or, they could put friends or family under surveillance.
Types of Social Media Posts that Could Hurt a Car Insurance Claim
Investigators can use anything on your social media to build a case against you. However, certain types of social media posts can be particularly harmful to your case.
If you are involved in a car accident, a personal injury claim, or another type of contentious insurance claim, then you should avoid putting any of the following on social media:
Apologies: An apology indicates guilt, which could make you at fault for the accident. Posting an apology on social media could weaken a personal injury settlement. Do not say sorry after a crash – especially online.
Rants: You may be extremely upset about how the insurance company is treating you. However, ranting about it online is not a good idea. It makes you look vindictive. It suggests you care about revenge or “sticking it” to your insurance company or the other driver. In court, it could reduce the chances of a jury siding with you.
Posts Suggesting Fault: Avoid posting anything on social media that could connect you with fault. Don’t post a photo of your car damage or a selfie from the hospital with a caption of, “Wasn’t paying attention to the road lol”, for example.
Posts Minimizing your Injuries: You may claim that a car accident left you severely injured and unable to participate in normal life. However, your social media posts show you at bars, out for dinner, or at a baseball game. This suggests your injuries aren’t as bad as they seemed.
Any Photos or Videos: Taking lots of photos and videos of an accident scene is good, but posting that evidence on social media may not be a good idea. You may post an angle of the crash site that could be used against you.
Avoid Deleting Posts: Attorneys cannot instruct you to delete posts on social media because it’s considered destruction of evidence.
Social media is fair game for insurance companies and attorneys. Anything you post on social media could hurt your insurance claim.
That means any apologies, rants, photos, location check-ins, and other information on social media could hurt your insurance claim. In many cases, a single social media post could cause your claim to be denied.
For all of these reasons, it’s crucial to control what you post on social media. Lock down your social media profiles. Avoid posting information that could compromise your car insurance claim.