BOASTING about summer holiday plans on social media could be your ticket to financial heartache.
Insurance specialists are warning households to be careful about their travel chatter on Facebook, Instagram and other online platforms ahead of an expected summer spike in burglaries and other insurance claims.
New data from Suncorp shows that claims for break-ins, electrical faults and barbecue mishaps surged 68 per cent during last year’s December-January period.
Suncorp spokeswoman Ashleigh Paterson said claims data also showed that cash, electronics and jewellery were thieves’ top three targets, and warned people to take care on social media.
“With nearly a third of people sharing their travel plans with their networks, it’s important to review your privacy settings before you post,” she said.
The Insurance Council of Australia also says people should avoid putting travel plans on social media.
Ms Paterson said now was a good time to reduce risks and check insurance policies for adequate cover. “You might have bought more items that you are not covered for,” she said.
“Don’t underestimate the cost of your belongings. Keep a list, receipts and how much it would cost to replace them.”
Ms Patterson said people should:
• Ask friends or neighbours to keep an eye on their homes and collect mail while they were away.
• Keep valuables hidden.
• Check all Christmas lights and decorations before turning them on.
• Check gas bottles, hoses and nozzles using soapy water to check for leaks.
Last year alone Suncorp received more than 900 claims relating to barbecue fires or explosions.
Understand Insurance spokeswoman Lisa Kable said more than 80 per cent of households were likely to be underinsured and one-third of people forgot to update their policies to include new possessions.
“Home contents policies usually have an individual item cap unless they’re listed separately,” she said.
“If something expensive gets damaged, the insurance payout may not cover the repair or replacement cost.
“Most insurance policies work on the premise that reasonable steps are taken to protect personal property. If your home is damaged during a party, damage may not be covered.”
Ms Kable said Australians should check their contents and travel insurance policies for coverage of valuables when travelling in Australia or overseas. She said accidental damage was not an automatic inclusion on all contents policies.
HOME PROTECTION TIPS
• Don’t put your travel plans on social media.
• Put locks on all doors and windows and consider security screens and monitored alarms.
• Remove keys you may have left hidden under doormats or pot plants.
• Put away ladders, garden tools and implements.
• Install motion-sensitive external lighting.
• Make sure your house looks lived in, with gardens well maintained.
• Ask neighbours to regularly empty your letterbox, put bins out and back in, and if away more than a couple of weeks, have someone trim your lawn.
Originally published as Social media’s costly holiday sting