In the hours after a car accident, filing a claim with your auto insurance company is one of the first steps you should take. But auto insurance industry insiders say a smart second step is giving social media accounts the once-over to prevent all or part of that claim from being denied.
In the past five years, the use of social media has exploded within the insurance industry, says Frank Darras, an insurance attorney in Ontario, California, who represents plaintiffs in suits against insurance companies. Because social media Web sites provide a real-time examination of users' lifestyles, insurance companies, claims adjusters and attorneys have begun to monitor and mine them as a valuable source of claims-investigation evidence. Insurers are reviewing information found on such social media sites as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Plus and Pinterest, and applying it to auto claims, says Chicago personal injury lawyer Michael Helfand.