Can a Social Media Post Change Your Premium?

We all like to share our adventures with friends and family. Sometimes this happens through social media. This can be a fun way to share photographs of our adventures, from our motorcycling vacation to our rock-climbing weekend.

But these images may be more visible than we think, and broad sharing of such information could affect your life-insurance premiums.

Earlier this year, the state of New York provided guidance as to how life insurers may legally use data science to analyze an applicant’s risk via his or her social media posts.

The good news: The technology needed to study social media accounts to make underwriting decisions is not fully developed. The time required to review each and every applicant’s accounts can be costly, so few insurers are currently doing it.

The bad news: Using such technology to make underwriting decisions is likely inevitable. In fact, some data scientists and industry analysts believe it won’t be long before social media is among the most common data reviewed in life insurance issuance.

This could be a trend for property and car insurance, too. Some insurers are already checking explanations of auto accident claims against Facebook testimonials about the accident.

Just to be safe, you may want to review the privacy settings on each of your social media accounts, ensuring that posts are shared only within your closest network. Also ask friends not to tag you in their photos, and un-tag yourself when they do.

If you really want to be safe, avoid posting photos of yourself engaging in risky behavior, such as smoking, motorcycling, and skydiving, and boast about healthy activities, such as going on cycling trips, running marathons, or simply hiking in the woods.

There’s no guarantee that doing so will help your premiums go down, but if you are going to be that careful, why not show good behavior in addition to avoiding displays of bad behavior?