School is over, long weekends are popping up, and everyone is taking the time to enjoy summer and vacations. One thing to be aware of is how much you share on your social media. Everything you put online can help a criminal steal your identity or even break into your home while you are away. Learn how to stay safe online.
57% of travellers post updates or use social media to check into hotels, tourist attractions and restaurants during their trip according to TripAdvisor. While it’s tempting to share your vacation, you could be updating more people than you realize. Your photos and updates could notify potential thieves your home is unattended. In fact, 78% of ex-burglars admit thieves monitor social media to identify target properties.
To protect your home and belongings while you’re away, keep the following in mind:
Limit your network: Set your social media privacy settings so only your friends can view any content you post. While it takes seconds to accept new contacts, you should only add friends you actually know. Be aware of any changes to your account’s privacy settings and restrict who can access your information.
Mindful content: Try not to announce any vacation plans in advance of your travel or while away. Wait until after you return to share details or photos of your trip. Never post photos that reveal your address, neighbourhood or landmarks near your home and avoid posting any photos showing items in your home.
Be proactive: Security experts recommend using social media to outsmart potential burglars. Instead of posting a photo of a beautiful sunset from your resort, take a moment to check in to a local coffee shop from back home. Create the appearance its business as usual, especially if you’re a regular social media user.
Secure your home: Always make your home look occupied. Set timers for your lights and arrange for a neighbour or friend to collect your mail while you’re gone. Never leave a hidden key under your doormat. Burglars know exactly where to look and this is as good as an invitation into your home. Arrange to have someone check on your home daily if you’re going away. There may be restrictions on your coverage when you’re absent, depending on your insurance provider. These restrictions may vary from being away for 72 hours or up to three consecutive days. Contact your MCT broker to find out the details of your specific policy.
Don’t forget insurance: Take inventory of your valuable possessions, including photos, descriptions of each item and the date it was purchased. Be sure to download our home inventory checklist. Should anything be stolen, this information will help you get proper reimbursement from the insurance company. Make sure your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance coverage is sufficient given the total value of your possessions. Your local MCT broker can help ensure have enough coverage in case of a loss.
Using social media is great to share your travel experiences; however, be mindful on how much you share with others. If you have questions about your home insurance coverage while on vacation, or need to arrange travel insurance, contact your MCT broker.