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Paying a heavy price for social media status

Never let your social media give you away

Having £400,000 of luxury goods stolen from your home is a huge price to pay for having posted a photo on Instagram, but that's precisely what former Chelsea and England footballer, John Terry, had to do, after sharing pic of himself and his wife on the ski slopes.

A gang of burglars spotted the picture and made it more a case of Instagrab than Instagram when they raided Terry's Surrey mansion, using axes and a ladder to gain entry to the master bedroom and an angle grinder to break into the safe. They also dismantled cupboards and other furniture, causing over £19,000 of damage to carpets and household fixtures, as well as stealing a huge haul of goods and cash.

Of course, we are not all wealthy footballers or footballers' wives and don't all have snakeskin Hermes handbags worth £42,000, or £220,000 of jewellery and watches lying around our homes. We also probably don't have £30,000 in cash on the premises. However, what we do own is valuable and precious to us, which means it can also be highly desirable to a crook.

Only a month ago, we warned Lancashire residents of the dangers of letting thieves know their whereabouts via social media posts. The John Terry case demonstrates why. Our high street BP Insurance Brokers' offices in Blackpool, St Annes, Cleveleys and Lancaster deal with hundreds of customers' home insurance policies each year and we see claims come in, when the heartbreak of burglary has been suffered. Although it is sometimes little comfort, we know some victims will be able to replace many of their possessions, by claiming on their home contents insurance policy, even if they cannot replace items of sentimental value.

But this leads us on to another point. Around one in five households do not have their possessions covered by home contents insurance and that rises to around half of all of those in rented property.

Statistics suggest having no home insurance is a very poor decision. Lancashire Constabulary crime figures show there were 11,663 burglaries across Lancashire between May 2016 and April 2017. In fact, since July 2016, there have been over 1000 burglaries per month, so the incidence of burglary is rising.

Should a burglar choose to rob someone without contents cover, their victim will be left picking up the bill for replacing gadgets, electrical goods and other possessions. If you stop to think how much money this might require, you can quickly see why home contents insurance is a safety net we should all have in place. Thinking it ‘won't happen to me' is risky.

At the very least, if you are electing to take the gamble of not insuring your possessions, do not ‘do a John Terry' and foolishly advertise the fact that you are away from your property. There could be a heavy price to pay, if you do.

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