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Unsocial media!

Unsocial media! If you are lying on a sun-kissed beach, sipping a cocktail and considering sharing your bliss on a social network site, think twice says ‘The insurance blogger’. A third of holidaymakers tell the world they are away from home. But beware – such a public advertisement for an unoccupied dwelling opens the door for opportunists to break into homes without fear of disturbance.

Insurers suspect unscrupulous types monitor social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for hints that users are out of the country – and with 35 million British social networking users, a third of that adds up to a lot of empty houses!

The ABI (Association of British Insurers), the voice of the industry, quotes anecdotal evidence of burglars looking for victims online with a court case from the USA last year, in which a gang of criminals broke into around 50 homes after scouting Facebook to find out when the householders were away.

On average, UK insurers received 752 claims per day last summer from victims of burglary. Insurers say claims are higher in the summer holidays than any other time of the year but this should not be an excuse to be complacent and avoid getting protection for the rest of the year.

Nick Starling, ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said: “Unoccupied homes are already vulnerable to burglary, without advertising online that you are away. With criminals increasingly going online to access personal details, avoid divulging personal information, such as your holiday plans.

“Simple, common-sense steps ensuring your home is secure and not trumpeting your absence will greatly reduce the risk of unwelcome visitors.”

Insurers are also urging householders to safeguard their homes against burglary while they are on holiday.

Suggestions include asking a friend or a neighbour to keep an eye on your home, and making sure doors, windows and outbuildings, such as sheds and garages, are locked and, above all, ensuring that you have comprehensive buildings and contents insurance. And if you just can’t help telling your friends about that fabulous beach or the stunning view, make sure your social networking privacy settings are securely locked down so that only friends and family get to share in your experience.

Wherever you decide to travel, don’t forget to get travel insurance cover for you and your family whilst you are away, Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialist, is committed to providing the highest level of service to ensure that you can travel safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!