Trick or Treat

Special Property, Special Coverage


Special property items such as cash, guns, jewelry and other items will only be covered up to the special limit set by the policy
Special Property Insurance Limits

A standard homeowner’s policy offers a limit equal to half of the amount reserved for the residence to protect against loss to a given residence’s personal Property (ex. Your home is covered for $150,000, so your contents and furnishings are covered for $75,000). While this is generous coverage, it doesn’t extend to all types of the property nor for all causes of loss. Certain types of property, because of its high value and liquidity, is far more vulnerable to loss…either easily destroyed, easily stolen or both. So, to compensate for this difference, insurers use coverage restrictions.

Causes of loss can also trigger lower limits.  Covered property of any type will be subject to reduced limits when theft is the cause of loss
Property claims due to theft are subject to lower limits

Theft Coverage Limitations

When property is lost due to theft, coverage under a standard homeowner policy is severely limited (generally $1,000 – $2,500) for the following types of property:

  • jewelry, watches, furs, and gemstones
  • dinnerware, serving sets, trophies and similar property made of or plated with silver, gold, platinum or pewter
  • for firearms, accessories and related property

Other Coverage Limitations

Several categories of property are subject to very modest limits ($200 – $2,500) of coverage, regardless of the cause of loss (theft, fire, accidental breakage, etc.). Specifically:

  • money, banknotes, coins, medals, gold, silver, and platinum (other than jewelry or dinnerware)
  • securities, accounts, deeds, tickets, stamps, manuscripts, passports and similar property
  • watercraft and related property including their trailers
  • trailers not used with watercraft
  • business property located in your residence
  • business property located away from your residence
  • certain types of electronic property which are lost or damaged while in a car or is located away from your home and used for business.

Handling the Limited Coverage Situation

Insurance companies are happy to provide more coverage if they are paid for their trouble. Specifically, limited coverage can be handled using the following methods:

Increased Coverage C Endorsement – this form is only appropriate for property saddled with limited coverage for theft losses. This form is attached to a basic policy and it increases the theft insurance limit (i.e. for jewelry from $1,500 to $5,000).

Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement – this form is used for increasing coverage for property that has protection reduced for all sources of loss. The property is removed from the basic policy’s limits and is covered exclusively by the endorsement. This form takes more work since each item of property has to be listed and assigned a particular insurance limit.

Inland Marine Property Floater – this method works like the personal property endorsement, except that it is a separate policy. This alternative is more appropriate for persons owning substantial amounts of high-valued property. The coverage must often be purchased from specialized insurers and comes at a high cost. In order to qualify for such coverage, you may need to meet special circumstances such as having a residential alarm system or make use of vault storage.

Another Advantage of Special Handling

In order to arrange coverage under a schedule or an inland marine policy, the property must be properly valued. This often involves appraising the property. It’s very helpful to have an expert source to establish the current value of jewelry, furs or other valuable possessions. In fact, such property should be appraised every two or three years since their values often increase over time.

Do you still have questions about property that needs special handling? Talk to an insurance professional about your needs and make sure that you have proper protection.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Hobby or Business

What happens when pleasure becomes work.  It's probably a good idea to speak with an insurance agent if this happens.
The Corner of Work and Pleasure

Your hobby may significantly affect your insurance needs. Hobbies often require a large investment intangible property and may even create some legal responsibility to other persons or their property.

Hobbyists: Collectors or Enthusiasts

Hobbies typically involve either collectors or enthusiasts. A collector acquires property that especially attracts him or her. Examples include people who collect stamps, art, coins, autos, antiques, comic books, baskets, dishes, glassware, sports memorabilia, etc. An enthusiast also collects a certain type of property. However, the enthusiast acquires property in order to pursue a given, physical (particularly sporting or artistic) activity. Examples are hunters, musicians, painters, sculptors, cyclists, and enthusiasts of many types, such as fans of model or radio control planes, helicopters, etc.

With collectors, the focus should be placed on the nature of the property being acquired. With enthusiasts, besides attention to property exposure, there should be equal emphasis on the liability exposure that is inherent in their activity.

Property Coverage Needs To be Created By Your Hobby

For the best value and protection it may be wise to consider a specialty insurance provider.  A good independent insurance agent should be able to point you in the right direction.
Consider Specialty Insurance for your Hobby or Collectables

Your special property should be properly insured. Most homeowner policies provide minimal protection for the collectible property. Why? Items such as coins, stamps, antiques, guns, etc., are often fragile. Also, such property is very valuable in relation to its size. The value of collectibles kept in one room may be more valuable than all of the rest of your home’s contents. Regular homeowner coverage is not designed to handle high-valued property that is easily destroyed, lost or is vulnerable to theft.

Even when a collectible property is eligible for a policy’s full coverage, this may not be enough. You may want your special property to be covered from more causes of loss than your family room couch. It may be worthwhile to buy an endorsement to add additional coverage for your collectibles to your homeowner policy. Depending upon the type and value of your collectibles, you may even have to consider specialty coverage which typically makes consideration for replacement cost and for the property that appreciates in value.

Liability Coverage Needs To be Created By Your Hobby

If your hobby is more hands-on, then be sure you’re protected against any legal liability related to your activity. Ask yourself the following:

  • Are there any dangers associated with the hobby?
  • Does the hobby involve frequent travel to sites or meets?
  • Does the activity attract frequent visitors to your home?
  • Do you publish hobbyist newsletters or give advice to others?
  • Do you actively sell or trade property on or away from your home?
  • Does your activity involve equipment that’s inherently dangerous to others?

Get Serious About Protecting Your Hobby

Fortunately, many aspects of a hobby, especially legal liability, are covered by a homeowners policy. However, your activity may need special or even business coverage (see part 2 of this series). The way you spend your leisure time should be a happy diversion. Don’t let your enjoyment be interrupted by inadequate protection. Discuss your special interest with an insurance professional who has a special interest in meeting your coverage needs.

It’s likely that you depend on your homeowner or residential insurance policy to handle losses connected to your hobby or activities. A homeowner (HO) policy usually includes a definition of “business.” A given policy may use a definition so broad that nearly any activity qualifies as a business. In such instances, a hobbyist or enthusiast should consider whether business insurance is necessary.

Let’s say you love photography and you take pictures at weddings and other events to finance this passion. While you consider this to be a hobby, your insurer may define your activities as a business. If your camera equipment is stolen or damaged, there may be as little as $250 protection under your HO policy. HO coverage for business property differs depending on whether it is located at or away from your residence.

Imagine the photography situation again. This time, you’re at a wedding job and have just set-up a perfect shot of the bridal party. As you are snapping a few shots, a large boom stands with hot lighting equipment tips over, injuring the maid of honor and the flower girl. A homeowner policy may exclude coverage if the injured women sue you since the injury is part of business activity.

There are numerous types of sales and service jobs. These include cosmetics, clothing, kitchen supplies, home decorator items, computer repair, web site design, photography, music lessons, auto repair, and many contractors. Each job involves some type of business property that is excluded or severely limited under the homeowner policy. Therefore, each situation may need to be covered by business insurance.

Although independent consultants are in business, too often they think their HO policy will provide coverage because they don’t have special equipment or leave their home office to run their business. Office furnishings such as laptops, iPads, desks, chairs, and file cabinets are subject to HO policy limitations. Without adjustments to the homeowner policy, there may be little or no coverage for property used in a business.

The legal form of the business may create a need for business insurance. If a limited liability company, corporation or partnership is formed, the related activity is a business and needs business coverage. Also, most HO policies will not provide coverage for employees or for any professional liability.

What can you do? First, determine if your activities qualify as a business. Then talk to an insurance professional to determine what coverage is provided by the policies you currently have and what options are available to fill in any gaps in protection.



COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Get a Grip on Zip(lines)

While accidents have been relatively low, the magnitude for zip line insurance claims has been quiet high.
Insuring Zip Lines

Ziplines are a newer and wildly popular attraction. They are known by various names such as:

  • zip wires
  • rope slides
  • aerial runways
  • flying fox
  • death slides

They consist of a steel cable (or, increasingly rarely, rope), mounted at an incline between two points. They are traversed by a person attached to the line by a harness and pulley.

Ziplines are quite old, originally developed as a way to more easily access remote areas, such as mountain terrain, forests or as a way to cross rivers and as an aspect of climber training. They are more recently used for entertainment such at adventure camps, hiking areas in parks, amusement parks, festivals, fundraisers, in team-building exercises and, in current development, at private residences.

Using the proper equipment and development of operating procedures focused on safety is essential.  Without these in place it will be hard to insure zip lines regardless of ownership or location.
Safety is Critical

Ziplines are now so popular; they are sold in kit form for private use. A standard kit consists of a cable, pulley, installation kits (bolts, eyebolts, swivels, cable tensioners, turnbuckles, cable clamps, braking device, cable slings etc), handlebars, lanyards or harnesses, and other accessories. Some kits include tools such as cable grabs and cutters.

While accidents involving zip lines are low, in comparison to their use, the consequences of accidents are very high, so safe operation is incredibly important. Much of the safety has to do with ziplines being installed professionally and operated by trained personnel. The residential use of ziplines is likely to result in more accidents because of the absence of those two, critical factors.

It is important that ziplines have safety features that match the installation and use. Residential ziplines are likely to consist of short runs and be close to the ground, still it is important to make sure that there is control over the speed, that the equipment is regularly checked, that the use is properly supervised, that there is proper clearance so that hands, clothing or hair don’t become entangled and that the launch and stopping points are properly supported. Items that help make zipline use safer is the use of a shock-absorbing landing zone, backup lanyards or harnesses, goggles, thick leather gloves (for emergency braking), helmets, masks, and knee pads.

Of course, it is supremely important that the zipline use the right type of cable, have a proper incline, be properly tensioned and that the right attachment and anchor points are used and that the space for the installation is adequate. The installation site must be absolutely free of obstacles, so site preparation is often necessary. Maintenance is very important, particularly with regard to line wear and tension and zipline owners must inspect their installation and gear carefully and regularly. Safe procedures and supervision is also critical.

You may also find it helpful to see our article titled, “Who Cares about Attractive Nuisances” for related information.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Gun Liability – It’s Complicated

Guns aren’t tools, always treat them with respect

In 2010, during a party that involved minors drinking alcohol, one guest was shot and killed when a gun, being played with by its owner (another party attendee) went off. The parents of the deceased sued the parents of the gun handler. The latter requested coverage from their homeowner insurance company. The company denied coverage and, eventually, a court ruled that no obligation existed under the insurance policy. The company was released from the lawsuit.

Homeowners coverage, like other insurance policies, is intended to protect against losses that are accidental. Often, accidental losses can be readily determined, but incidents involving firearms are complicated.

Accidental discharge of a gun can be a crime

When one person injures another, both the act and the intent are considerations of whether an incident is an accident. In the shooting incident mentioned above, it was determined that the gun handler was guilty of negligently handling the gun and was jailed. Since a court determined the incident was a crime, it did not qualify as an accident. A loss caused by a crime is ineligible for coverage.

When a loss involves firearms, it is often treated far differently than other circumstances. Consider the following:

Jim is hosting a party at his house for a bunch of high school friends and Fran is one of the persons attending it. Jim, well known to his friends as the group’s clown, is fooling around with an item. Fran, who is nearby, is seriously injured. Later, Fran’s family sues Jim’s parents and they file the lawsuit with their insurance company.

Scenario one – Jim recently became interested in tennis. He brings out a very expensive tennis racket he just received. He brags about how light and powerful it is and he demonstrates strokes. When he demonstrates a backhand, Fran is passing behind him and she is hit, suffering a broken nose and several shattered teeth!

Scenario two – Jim recently became interested in firearms. He brings out a very expensive pistol he just received. He brags about how light and powerful it is and he demonstrates how it is supposed to be handled. When he demonstrates how to aim it, the gun fires and Fran is struck. The bullet hits and fractures her shoulder.

In both scenarios, the injuries are a result of Jim’s immature and careless action. In both situations, no harm was intended. In both instances, Fran is seriously injured. In all likelihood, the losses will not be handled similarly. A tennis racket is a piece of equipment that is intended to be used for a particular sport. It is used for hitting tennis balls and other uses are considered unusual and, for the most part, not dangerous. This loss has a very high chance of being treated as an accident.

A gun is a weapon. It is used for both defensive and offensive purposes and, by nature, is capable of extremely serious, often deadly harm. It is considered to be a dangerous instrument. Therefore, the stakes are far higher whenever a gun or other firearm causes a loss. In many instances, even when harming another party is completely unintended, acts involving firearms also involve far more accountability and may not be classified as accidental. In the shooting scenario, the chance is very high that the loss would be denied.

Because of the danger inherent in guns, it’s important to be aware that losses involving them are often ineligible for insurance protection. That makes it critical that their ownership is treated seriously and every possible precaution against unintended injury be taken.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc., 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

2019 Spencer County KY High School Football

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bears-logo-1.jpg
Spencer County Football

Aug 24 Anderson County at Nelson County 7:30 PM
Aug 30 Bullitt East away 7:30 PM
Sep 6 Nelson County away 7:30 PM
Sep 13 Collins away 7:30 PM
Sep 20 Bardstown at Nelson County 7:30 PM
Sep 27 Marion County away 7:30 PM
Oct 5 Moore at Nelson County 7:30 PM
Oct 11 Valley away 7:30 PM
Oct 25 John Hardin away 7:30 PM
Nov 1 Henry County at Nelson County 7:30 PM

Head Coach: Mike Marksbury Location: Taylorsville, KY

2018 Record: 4-6

Friday Nigh Football Football, it;'s an American Thing.  Kentucky High School football following the Spencer County Bears.
EnteFriday Night Football, it’s an American Thing!

For the last eight years passion, knowledge, commitment, and compassion have been on display on Friday nights. Anything less would have ended in failure. That’s why in 2011 when Mike Marksbury walked onto the field, the fans welcomed a new coach. Little did they know that this man would become the cornerstone of the Spencer County Football program.

The last couple of years have been tough for the Bears. But even the casual observer can see that those days are behind this punch. While still young, this sleuth of Bears has it all. Talent, drive, and heart. The bottom line is that even though they are still learning, Spencer County has a group of real Football Players coached by Real Coaches.

Home field advantage his huge in any sports, however, it seems that it means the most for football and basketball. The area experienced extremely wet weather throughout the spring and early summer. As a result, improvements to Spencer County facilities are very far behind schedule. So for the 2019 season, the Bears will be nomads, a team with no home. Another challenge that will be overcome by this “never says quit” group.

2019 Anderson County KY High School Football

Anderson County KY High School Football, Anderson County Bearcats
Anderson County Bearcats
Aug 24 Spencer County at Nelson County 7:30 PM
Aug 30 Madison Central home 7:30 PM
Sep 6 Mercer County home 7:30 PM
Sep 13 Franklin County away 7:30 PM
Sep 20 Henderson County home 7:00 PM
Sep 27 Lincoln County home 7:30 PM
Oct 11 Bourbon County away 7:30 PM
Oct 18 Boyle County home 7:30 PM
Oct 25 Lexington Catholic away 7:30 PM
Nov 1 Bardstown away 7:30 PM

Head Coach: Mark Peach Location: Lawrenceburg, KY

2018 Record: 10-1

Friday Night Football in Kentucky
Kentucky High School

The Bearcats recent success, including going 10-1 in 2018, hasn’t gone unnoticed. 2019 is a redistricting year for Kentucky High School Football. Anderson’s relative enrollment trends have dropped the Bearcats from 5 to 4A.

It would seem logical that by dropping down a class would be a positive for Anderson County. Apparently, the folks at Max Preps agree as their Pre-season Rankings have the Bearcats ranked #8 in 4A, and #34 statewide.

Redistricting occurs every four years in Kentucky. It’s the States mechanism aimed to create fair Sports competition between Kentucky high schools. A Fair and Balanced approach aimed at leveling the playing field. But does it?

Following the redistricting, Anderson County finds itself in Class 4A District 5. A district that includes:

  • Boyle County….Perennial Powerhouse 8 x State Champs (’99, ’00, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’09, ’10, ’17) Runner-up (’04) Ranked #1 Preseason Kentucky 4A, # 6 Kentucky Overall
  • Lexington Catholic….Perennial Powerhouse 2 x State Champs (’05, ’07) Runner-up (’15) Ranked #6 Preseason Kentucky 4A, # 31 Kentucky Overall
  • Bourbon County State Champs (’97)
  • Anderson County Runner-up (’11)

WOW! Class 4A has 38 teams scattered over 8 Districts. In a Fair and Balanced World, on average each District would have 1.25 teams in the top 10. District 5 has 3, the #1, 6, and 7th ranked teams

In the last 22 years, the four combined have one 11 State Championships and pay in 14 Finals. Did someone say something about Fair and Balanced?

Kentucky High School Football Brought to you by TruePoint Insurance
We’re insuring Kentucky, just not on Friday Nights.

Claims By Candlelight

From dark to light, the candle has been mans friend and shown us our path in the dark.
From Dark to Light

If protecting one’s home isn’t complicated enough, it appears that the soft, soothing glow of a candle’s flame may obscure some dark problems. Specifically, the use of candles may result in:

  • reducing the internal air quality of your home
  • increasing the chance of fire losses
  • damages by particulate deposits on interior and exterior walls, carpets, furniture, appliances, window treatments, floors, and other surfaces

Further, the use of candles may also contribute to health problems from inhaling particulate matter or ingesting harmful chemicals.

Defining the Candle Problem

Candles cause nearly 1 of every 3 fires.  And there is more, Wicks with lead, soot that is a hazard for our modern homes and more.  Is your home covered in the event a candle starts a fire?
Today’s candles can be more
of a hazard than an aid.

Actually, there are a number of problems and they have been accentuated by a change in the market for candles. The last few years have seen an explosive growth in the popularity of candles. They are increasingly used for their traditional, decorative purpose, but the true surge in use has been due to their being marketed as scented candles for deodorizing and for a health-related purpose called aromatherapy.

In both of the above, sales-boosting instances, candle-makers have had to offer products with more intense scents. This is accomplished by adding scented oils into their wax mixture. The increased oil content causes candles to burn improperly and generates a substantially higher level of soot.

A Sooty Situation

It looks like soot, which is a carbon residue produced by burning, can create a large, expensive problem. Since soot is particulate matter that can be carried through the air, it can seriously stain walls, carpets, and personal property. Studies show that electronic and plastic components are also vulnerable to soot damage. Unfortunately, soot produced by poorly burning candles bonds very strongly, making it difficult to impossible to clean. Further, soot may contaminate a home’s heating system, including ductwork. The soot can then be spread throughout a home, creating widespread damage that is difficult to repair. Property stained by soot may have to be cleaned by professionals and, often, the property has to be replaced.

Troublesome candle ingredients

Candle makers are not required to disclose the ingredients.
Do you know what’s in your candles?

You may have assumed that the only materials found in candles were the wick and some type of wax. Surprise! Here’s a list of ingredients which may either be found in a candle or maybe created during combustion:

  • Acetone Benzene Trichlorofluoromethane
  • Carbon Disulfide 2 Butanone 1 1- Trichloroethane
  • Trichloroethene Carbon Tetrachloride Tetrachloroethene
  • Toluene Chlorobenzene Ethylbenzene
  • Styrene Xylene Phenol
  • Cresol Cyclopentene Lead

Another surprise is that the candle-making industry is not required to tell consumers about the ingredients used in their products, including when a wick is used which contains a lead core.

Poor candle design or practices

Have you ever seen a candle with an excessive amount of smoke?  That's soot and it poses several threats.  The same is true if the  candle's flame is very high.
Are candles with high flames or a lot of soot safe?

Besides the use of oils and chemicals, candle-makers sometimes create problems because they commit other mistakes. Candles may burn improperly (causing soot) because a candle’s wick may be off-center or there may not be a proper amount of air in the candle mixture. A candle may have a higher likelihood of causing a fire loss due to:

  • an improper candle mixture which results in intense heat or high flames
  • improper holders (glass that shatters or spills flammable liquid)
  • wood holders that catch fire
  • flammable items imbedded in the candle mixture such as potpourri

Coverage Under a Homeowner Policy?

Brilliant people read their insurance policies.  What types of fire coverage are you protected against?
Are you covered for
losses started by candles?

Damage to a home or personal property due to soot can create serious problems for both an insurer and a homeowner. Losses involving soot can create thousands of dollars in damages. Depending upon the details surrounding a loss and the wording of the particular homeowner policy, coverage for the damage may not be available. Why? Because the source of loss might be considered the result of pollution which may be excluded. Another reason for rejecting a claim may be an assumption that the damage was gradual instead of sudden, so it wouldn’t be considered accidental and sudden damage. A claim could even be affected by the knowledge of the insured. For instance, even if the policy covers soot-related losses, a claim could be denied if a homeowner knew that the type of candle they used could cause damages.

Since the damage is caused by matter that is invisible to the naked eye, it could be difficult to prove that the loss was sudden. Tests can be used to determine the cause of stained or discolored property, but the testing can be expensive and the cost may have to be handled by the homeowner.

What To Do?

It’s all up to you. You might wish to ask more questions about the type of candles you use or curtail your use. You can also discuss whether coverage is available under your homeowner policy with an insurance professional. If you do use candles frequently, you may also want to check your home thoroughly for any stains or discoloration, including any contamination of your heating system.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Exchange Students – Homeowners Coverage

This article briefly discusses how a homeowner policy responds to coverage for exchange students. Please be sure to read the companion article, “Exchange Students – Automobile Coverage.”

Opening your Eyes, that's about to happen for your family with your new exchange student.  But waiting until they get here to open your eyes is a big risk.  Find out before hand the changes that you will need to make to your insurance.
You have an Exchange Student, Now What?

Note: Check with your exchange student program coordinator to see what kinds of coverage are automatically provided for the child. But don’t take anyone’s word; get copies of documents that prove the coverage situation.

An exchange student in your care who is younger than 21 years is automatically insured under a homeowners policy, treated as if the child were a relative. An exchange student’s property is covered while located at or away from your home. Off-premises coverage is normally limited to 10% of your policy’s Personal Property limit, subject to a minimum of $1,000. On-premises, the policy’s full content limit is available. If your homeowner’s policy had a $70,000 limit for Personal Property, up to $7,000 would be available to handle damage or loss to an exchange student’s property while it’s away from your home, say while at a summer camp. Liability coverage that applies to your family also applies for damage and bodily injury caused by an exchange student who is younger than 21 years of age.

Do you know how to prepare for an exchange student?  You need to!
how to prepare for an exchange student.

If the exchange student is older than age 21, then the policy treats the student as a guest. A policy owner can volunteer to extend his insurance coverage to include a guest’s property while at your residence premises or even while you and the guest are at some other location. However, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether an older exchange student is a guest or a tenant – someone who is paying you a reasonable rent for staying in your home.

Hosting an exchange student creates questions you should discuss with an insurance professional who can help make sure your coverage needs are met.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Social Media Liability-Part 2

Social media as alter the risk profile of many of us.  American must now accept that are libel and slander exposures are at historic high levels.
Just because it’s new doesn’t mean you aren’t exposed

See part 1 which discusses the meaning of social media liability.

Social media liability claims can be complicated and expensive since they may involve historical postings. In these instances, defense costs may include electronic discovery or subpoenaing information from any applicable social networking sites. Expenses could expand if a party filing a lawsuit demands information beyond a post to one particular site to include posts made on all the social networking sites where a defendant holds an account.

Depending on the nature of the claim, the insured may be faced with multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions including outside the United States. Defense costs may reflect extensive jurisdictional and venue disputes that have to be handled (and paid for) even before determining if that claim is eligible for coverage.

Another issue is the problem of handling intentional (deliberate) acts. They are routinely excluded by most insurance policies. An insurance company may choose to deny either legally defending and/or responding to a lawsuit because, in its opinion, the policyholder had full knowledge that published information was false or that an act was an invasion of privacy.

Social media liability is not a common term so insurance policies generally refer to the traditional terms of “personal and advertising injury” and extending this traditional coverage to social media and the Internet. Social media makes it easier to libel, slander or invade a person’s privacy.

Off-the-cuff comments that used to be made at the water cooler or in the privacy of one’s home are now published nationwide or internationally. The result? Damages sought by a claim can be more substantial because there are more people aware of the comments as compared to traditional situation.

You must be aware of the legal potential in using social media and the claims that can result if defamatory comments are made about family members, friends, exes, etc. There is no immunity from lawsuits simply because such comments are commonly posted on sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Considering what is at stake, especially for businesses, umbrella coverage is definitely recommended as an additional source of protection. Umbrella coverage is also recommended for prolific social media users and bloggers. Although avoiding high-risk behavior is a simpler and more effective way to eliminate problems, it is unlikely that individuals will avoid social media or blogging altogether. A more realistic expectation may be that a person may inadvertently engage in behavior that creates a claim. Individuals should evaluate the risk potential and realize that coverage for social media liability may become a necessary part of everyday life, similar to auto insurance or home insurance.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.