Burglary during the holidays: no compensation because of an Instagram post?

A holiday photo published on the Internet can arouse the interest of burglars in your unoccupied home.

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Showing up on social media when you’re away from home makes it easier for thieves. Can the insurer refuse to compensate you in this case? Answers from specialists.

“At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, I must say that you become easy prey for burglars when your home is unoccupied. If you make a claim for compensation following a burglary, your insurer may well be checking your social media accounts and it will help your cause. Holly Bennett works for price comparator NerdWallet. She is quoted by the “WalesOnline” in an article published last Sunday. This deals with a subject concerning the millions of travelers who post photos of their holidays on Facebook and other Instagrams.

The Welsh site states that an “insurer cannot refuse to pay you following a loss simply because you posted a photo, but they expect you to take reasonable precautions to protect your home. » This principle is called the duty of care and it is clearly stipulated in the general conditions of insurance. In summary, the insurer could consider the fact of appearing publicly away from home as a breach of this duty and refuse to pay all or part of the indemnity.

The position of Swiss insurers

Is such a practice possible in Switzerland, in particular within the framework of household insurance? We interviewed four companies whose answers are not all so categorical. Mobiliar says it ‘would not reduce insurance benefits solely on the basis of a post’. Ditto on the side of Baloise: “the duty of care does not extend to the activities of our policyholders on social networks”.

Helvetia recalls a principle: policyholders “must take the measures required by the circumstances to protect the insured items against the insured risks”. She says that in such a case, she would not reduce her performance. And to add: “No change in practice is planned immediately. But we are, of course, following developments with interest.” This last sentence suggests that a change in practice is possible.

Finally, Generali refuses to “pronounce in an abstract way on the question. Indeed, it is only in the context of the announcement of a proven claim that we can examine the question of a possible reduction in benefits, or even a refusal due to the circumstances of the concrete case. In other words, the insurer does not exclude that a publication on social networks is a prank on the duty of care.

A practice that is against the law?

For Rémy Baddour, “a process as described in the British article would not be legally sustainable in Switzerland”. The Genevan is an insurance broker and holder of a lawyer’s license. According to him, “the only question that could arise in theory is whether the fact of publicly posting photos of his vacation could constitute serious misconduct on the part of the insured within the meaning of art 14 para. 2 of the federal law on the insurance contract giving the right to the insurer to reduce its benefit. This position does not seem to me to be justifiable and remains theoretical since most insurers specifically renounce invoking serious fault in their general conditions of insurance. According to the specialist, the question of social networks should be expressly described in these. Until then, holidaymakers can continue to post selfies to the beach and pray that burglars don’t see them.

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