Selfies could put your home at risk this summer

Business Insights

  • One in five (19%) Brits admit to posting holiday photos and status updates on social media, while almost one in ten (9%) let their followers know they are going away
  • 816,000 households have been burgled while owners have been on holiday
  • As 23.8 million Brits will be jetting off this summer, Policy Expert warns holidaymakers to be vigilant

With over 23.8 million Brits jetting off on holiday this summer, Policy Expert is warning holidaymakers to be wary of posting on social media and to check privacy settings are up to scratch.

The warning comes as a study of over 4,700 people found that one in five (19%) Brits admit to posting photos or updates on Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels while on holiday, potentially putting their home at risk to opportunistic burglars. Almost one in ten (9%) also admit to letting their online followers know they are going away.

While holidaymakers will no doubt want to make their followers envy of the weather, the views and their holiday activities, the company is warning travellers to be cautious of social channels to avoid advertising their property may be empty.

The revelation comes as the home insurer found that 816,000 UK households have been burgled while owners have been on holiday. Of those who have been broken into, a third (34%) broke in through a downstairs window, one in five (18%) damaged the back door, while over a quarter (27%) tampered or broke the locks on the front or back door.

To prevent a potential burglary, over two thirds (67%) let their neighbour know they’re away so they can keep an eye out, while one in five (22%) ask their neighbours to pop in. Well over two fifths (45%) leave a car on the driveway, a further 44% leave the indoor or outdoor lights on a timer to deter burglars, and three in 10 (29%) set a burglar alarm.

Adam Powell, Operations Director at Policy Expert, commented:

“While sun-lounger selfies may make you the envy of your friends, it’s easy to forget that you could be letting opportunistic thieves know you’re away from home. You wouldn’t put a notice on your front door letting people know you won’t be home for two weeks, so why advertise to potentially hundreds of people on social media? Ensuring that your privacy settings are up to date and secure is a simple step to minimise the risk of any nasty surprises when you return from your holiday.”

Top tips on protecting yourself and your home online:

1. Keep a tight rein on your privacy settings – check they’re turned on across all accounts, so no information is publicly viewable and you’re not inadvertently sharing your location

2. Know who your ‘friends’ are – many of us add acquaintances on networking sites, so if you do choose to do this, remember what you’re sharing won’t always be confined to your closest family and friends

3. Resist the urge to overshare – watch out when posting pictures or expensive new purchases too. You might want to show your friends you have the new Apple watch, but think of what you’re advertising to potential burglars

4. Make sure your connection is secure - Ensure that you are connecting securely while traveling and avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks

5. Last but not least… It’s the most basic rule, but never post personal details (address, details of your bank etc.) anywhere online

All survey figures are from a Policy Expert customer poll. Total sample size was 4,757 adults. The survey was carried out online in May 2018. 46% of Brits are planning to go on holiday this summer, based on the number of adults in the UK (51,767,543 – Source: ONS), this means 23,813,070 adults are planning on going on vacation.

Calculation on number of households burgled is based on ONS data that there were 27.2 million households in the UK in 2017, of which 3% have been burgled while on holiday, equating to 816,000.

About Policy Expert

Policy Expert is an award-winning insurance company, utilising best in class technology alongside it’s number one rated support team to deliver an enhanced customer experience. Launched in 2011, it is now one of the UK’s fastest growing home insurance providers with over 450,000 customers.