Most of us have said something in the past that we wish we could take back. Years ago, we could hope that once said, the words went no further. These days, your comments can last for years, and be shared among millions. With so many of us using Twitter, Facebook and other social media, ill-advised words and videos can spread at blazing speed.
Hurtful Words Can Be Costly
Bullying Facebook updates, accusatory tweets, teasing posts, or videos revealing private information about someone can expose you to liability under slander, libel or invasion of privacy laws. The most recent public example of this is the guilty verdict against the New Jersey college student who posted video of his college roommate, creating ridicule that led to the roommate’s tragic suicide. What if your child was accused of one of these crimes? You may be surprised to find that a standard Maine homeowners insurance policy wouldn’t provide protection for this.
A Small Coverage Addition Makes a Big Difference
Maine homeowners policies provide liability protection against bodily injury and property damage due to negligence. Damage to someone’s reputation doesn’t fall into either category. That’s why our South Portland Maine Insurance agency recommends that our clients choose Personal Injury coverage. What is Personal injury insurance? It protects you against accusations of slander, libel, defamation of character and invasion of privacy. It can pay the damages in a civil suit, and more important, the legal costs of defense. Personal injury coverage is usually an add-on endorsement. The cost is usually about $25 per year – a bargain for up to $500,000 in protection.
Talk to Your Children About Online Behavior
Of course, the best defense against these kinds of accusations is to stay away from risky behavior. Talk to your children about social media, how they use it and what’s expected of them. Let them know how their behavior could impact their own reputation – not to mention your insurance. Some parents choose to actively monitor their children’s computer activities. Various commercial software programs are available to parents who want to closely monitor what their children’s online activities.
No matter what you choose to do, we should all encourage respectful discourse and behavior – online and “IRL” (In Real Life). For more information about Personal Injury Insurance in Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent at 207.799.5541.