Saturday, August 29, 2015

What is Personal Injury Insurance and do I need it?

Personal injury insurance is a coverage available on many homeowners insurance policies that protects you if a legal action is brought against you because you post something online about them that is critical, insulting or untrue about them. The same goes for posting things in print. (Keep in mind that you have some medical coverage and liability coverage if someone gets physically hurt on the property.)

With the rise in social media, this has become more of an issue. While we enjoy the freedom to express our opinions on a wide range of topics, we are not free of the consequences of such freedom. If you have teens or children that are active on social sites, you could be liable for what they post too.

And it's not just social media. Consumer review sites are another possible source of trouble. There are many websites where a customer can review a companies products. Customers can also review restaurants, professionals, hospitals, just about anything you can think of on the web.

Where the problem comes in if you (or a member of your household)  posts something online that damages someone. This is called libel. Libel is the use of false, defamatory claims about someone in written or printed form. (from grammarist.com) There have been cases where people have been sued for reviewing someone on Yelp and other sites in a negative manner. The same has happened on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and many others. Perhaps you are a landlord and vent online about your tenant (not smart), who then sues you when a co-worker sees the post. Or you rent a property and are angry that the landlord or manager has not taken care of a matter and you fire off a searing tweet about them (it may be time to move).  There are many ways you could get in trouble for your temper. 

Personal injury coverage is a great option to have and can be added by most carriers for very little cost per year. And remember, you can voice your opinion, but you are not free of the consequences. Even if you win in court, you still have to pay court costs and lawyer fees. So try to keep it civil, accurate and maybe wait a few days before you post to cool off. It could save you a big headache.