Due to rising premiums and the prevalence of insurance fraud, insurers are being more proactive in seeking out information to determine the legitimacy of the claim. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, insurers have started to prod the social media accounts of claimants, searching for information that could discredit or validate a filed auto accident claim. Customers can defraud insurance companies by making false claims about accidents or inflating the value of stolen or damaged items.
Even if a customer’s social media profile is private, courts are permitted to approve orders allowing access to the profile for a limited time.
As told by the Sun Sentinel, there have been multiple instances where this practice has paid off for insurance companies. A St. Lucie County woman filed a claim stating that her car had been in a hit-and-run accident, but after a quick look at her Facebook page, the insurance company saw posts indicating that her daughter had caused the accident. In addition to discovering fraudulent claims, insurers can also use social media sites to confirm legitimate claims. For example, a woman’s pictures did not show significant damage to her car but a check of her Facebook page showed periodic updates on her condition as well as “get well” posts from her friends.
Even if a customer’s social media profile is private, courts are permitted to approve orders allowing access to the profile for a limited time. Though the surveying of customers’ social media accounts is only currently legally allowed to be used to question the validity of claims, it may be used in the future to calculate premiums. It is argued by some that if an insurer could search through the social media pages of potential clients it could better determine the level of risk posed by insuring an individual. Some feel that this could possibly lead to lower premiums for policyholders, but there is lively discussion as to whether this overreaches the bounds of an individual’s privacy.
Though some accidents are exaggerated or fraudulently reported by policyholders, serious auto accidents are not uncommon and often lead to debilitating injuries or premature death. If you have been in an auto accident that occurred due to the negligence of another driver or external factors like road conditions or signage problems, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. Contact an experienced auto accident attorney to find out if you can seek monetary remuneration for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.