Canadian Underwriter

Travel selfie spike could prove stressful for contents insurers

June 13, 2022   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

Young people taking a travel selfie.

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Social media savvy Canadians may find their tendency to post vacation selfies resulting in the wrong kind of house cleaning.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, summer is once again travel time and 62% of Canadians who are active on social media indicated they’re planning a trip, according to a survey commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. For 42% of them, it will be their first trip in more than two years.

The concern, noted Allstate, is a tendency to share travel dates, vacation locales and destination selfies on social media. These posts can alert thieves to the fact their homes are unoccupied.

“That post-pandemic travel selfie can be very tempting for many people, but it could also lead uninvited visitors to your home and risk a break-in,” said Melissa Marquis, Allstate’s director of business development.

“We’re asking Canadians to think twice before posting that quintessential beach selfie or dreamy sunset photo to social media until after their return from vacation.”

The survey said 29% of respondents who are active on social media posted vacation details before or during a trip. And the number rose to 46% for people aged 18 to 34.

Among all respondents who shared their travel details, 10% posted about travel plans in anticipation of a trip and 24% posted during the trip, revealing they are away. The web survey was conducted May 6-9, 2022, sampling 1,534 Canadians older than 18, 1,076 of whom were active on social media.

Among those on social media, the survey found 37% plan to travel outside their city, 14% outside their province and 12% internationally.

Allstate offered a few tips for clients who plan to travel:

  • Don’t tell people other than trusted neighbours, family or friends that you’ll be away from home.
  • Be careful on social networks. Never publish vacation departure dates; remind people you live with not to do that as well. While using rigid privacy settings for social media accounts should limit access, people can sometimes still see your posts through the accounts of friends and followers.
  • Check privacy and security settings of social media accounts. Review who has access to your personal information. For example, Facebook lets you set parameters to allow only friends to access detailed personal information.
  • Review previous social media posts and remove any details that could be used to find your home address. Remember things like street names and house or apartment numbers can be seen in photo backgrounds.
  • Don’t geotag your photos. It can tell people your street address or show them that you’re 3,000 kilometres away from that address.

“Canadians are eager to take time off…but [travel plans] should not be made at the expense of putting your home at risk,” said Marquis.


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