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Noyes, Hall & Allen Blog

Watch What You Say Online – and Protect Yourself Just in Case

May 29th, 2009     Noyes Hall & Allen

The internet: it’s not just for kids anymore. Almost 75% of Americans are now on the internet. Some people just surf the web and email, but more and more are participating in so-called “social media” like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And it’s not just kids. People 35-54 are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook these days, (much to the chagrin of their children). Who knows how many blogs there are now? It seems that the world lost count somewhere after 60 million.

When Good Posts Go Bad
One thing about “social media” is that they are – well – social. Posts are called that for a reason: they’re publicly available for others to see. Blog posts and web site comments can range from informational to inflammatory, funny to foolish and ranting to R-Rated.

It’s not surprising that some postings have been accused of crossing the line – even relatively tame ones like the book reviewer sued for libel, or the blogger sued by a developer for defamation.

What if You’re Sued?
One question we’ve been asked is whether someone’s homeowners policy would protect them against such a suit. The answer is “it depends”. If your postings are purely personal – not on a business blog, and you purchased “personal injury” coverage, then you should have coverage against claims of libel, slander or defamation of character. Keep in mind that “personal injury” coverage is NOT part of a standard homeowners policy.

Hidden Value
Most people buy insurance thinking that it will pay for their legal damages because of liability of their actions. They’re right, of course. But even more important is the cost of legal representation that’s included in every homeowners policy.

Even a groundless suit can take many hours of attorneys’ time to resolve, and months of court resources. This can be more expensive than the actual damages awarded, depending on the circumstances. If you have a homeowners policy with personal injury coverage, you don’t have to worry about finding or paying for an attorney. Your insurance company takes care of that for you.

Of course, we don’t recommend conducting your online life in a reckless manner. But wouldn’t it be nice to know that if someone did accuse you of libel or defamation, your insurance would help you minimize the financial impact and stress?

Talk to a Maine insurance agent today about personal injury coverage.

 

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