How Social Networking Can Affect Your Life Insurance Rates
Everyone knows that dangerous health habits like smoking or excessive drinking contribute to high insurance premiums, but there are plenty of other factors that can raise your rates as well. Some of them are obvious, a high-risk job for example, while others are more unexpected. The thing that’s perhaps most interesting about your life insurance rates is that they might go up not because of anything that actually happens to you — but because of what you share on your social networking profiles.
Life insurance companies are increasingly turning to the Internet to determine a potential customer’s risk. As more and more people use social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family, they’re also sharing personal details about their lives. Unknown to most social media users, however, is the fact that others can see everything they share about themselves online as well. In the case of insurance companies, a user’s social media profiles are considered when creating a risk analysis.
This article will offer some reasons how social networking can affect your life insurance rates.
Do you “like” extreme sports?
If an insurance actuary sees that you “like” extreme activities like base jumping, skydiving, spelunking or deep-sea diving without an oxygen tank, the odds are good that you’ll see an increase in your insurance rates. Even if you don’t actually participate in these activities, the fact that you “like” them is enough reason for an analyst to consider modifying your policy.
Do you travel globally?
If you like to spend time globetrotting and soaking in world cultures, you probably share pictures of your travels on Facebook. If you have a habit of visiting dangerous or war-torn countries, however, and your insurance agent sees the photos, they’ll rightly consider you a more risky customer. If you want to make sure no unauthorized eyes can see your photos, use Facebook’s privacy settings to restrict access to friends only. (Keeping your photos private is a good practice anyway.)
Are you a fitness fanatic?
Do you jump on Facebook to give everyone the mile time from your latest run? If so, congratulations. You’re clearly dedicated to staying fit and healthy, and your insurance provider will note that fact when they check out your profile.
If you have pictures of yourself enjoying a three-pound bacon cheeseburger and 40 ounces of beer, on the other hand, you can safely assume that the insurance agent will categorize you as a higher-risk candidate — and give you a higher life insurance premium as a result. Know how social networking can affect your life insurance rates, next time you post.
Do you publicly support cancer research or similar medical charities?
Donating to charitable causes is a noble gesture, but if you show too great an interest in any particular medical-focused cause, say breast cancer research or prostate cancer awareness, it might indicate to insurance companies that you’re at a higher risk for certain illnesses — despite the thorough medical history review you surely endured when applying for the insurance in the first place.
For argument’s sake say that you have an aunt who passed away from cancer. This information alone will likely already have increased your insurance premium, but when combined with your active and persistent support for cancer research, it could cause an even greater increase. No one’s suggesting that you shouldn’t show your support for worthwhile causes online — only that you should be aware of the message that doing so sends about your own health. Intentions are not always clear online, so consider how social networking can affect your life insurance rates, before you share every little detail with the world.