Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Insure.com Examines Insurance for Blogs and Online Gossip That Turn Ugly

/PRNewswire / -- E-mails, blogs and Web pages are fertile grounds for zinging a friend, grinding an ax or seeking revenge.

People may blog about the horrible job a contractor did on their house. A MySpace page rant could accuse a friend of salacious or illegal behavior. An embarrassing video can turn up on YouTube, much to the surprise and dismay of those filmed.

If you've been naughty online, a standard home insurance policy won't help you pay to defend against lawsuits involving libel, slander or defamation of character: If someone sues you for what you've said online, that's a "personal injury" claim. If you want your insurance company to rescue you, you'll likely need one of the following:

1. A personal injury endorsement to your home insurance policy
2. An umbrella policy that includes personal injury
3. An excess liability policy that includes personal injury


But even with a personal injury endorsement or other coverage in hand, you won't be covered for all online actions. Insurance won't pay in these cases:

-- If you've posted or published material that you knew was false.
-- For material you posted before the beginning of the policy period, or
for claims that commence after the policy period.
-- For online communications that are business-related. (But your
employer's insurance might cover you, depending on the situation.) So
if you're running a blog that's related to your profession, this may
be excluded.
-- For criminal acts.

Evaluating your potential "exposure" to a lawsuit is wise if you regularly send your thoughts over the Internet.

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