For many, social media is their “happy place.” They post pictures, vent about their day, and share their personal lives and opinions with their closest friends – and thousands of others who happen to be looking. That’s where many go wrong.

Social media users who take their rants and reviews to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter among other outlets, do so in haste. They typically don’t consider the implications of their actions when they hit “post.” If the target of the rant or a negative online business review sees it as defaming, it’s easy to illustrate the slander in a claim since it is in “writing,” and it’s likely that hundreds of people saw it.

In today’s litigious world it’s more important than ever to protect your assets above and beyond what your home, auto, and condo insurance limits cover. Personal umbrella insurance will do just that, helping to cover social media liability and legal fees in the event of a lawsuit if you – or anyone in your household – posts something personally harmful on a social media channel.

Unfortunately, your basic homeowners insurance, even if it includes personal injury insurance, won’t cover you if you’re sued for defamation. Instead, umbrella insurance is the only coverage that protects you against “extras” or damages that aren’t covered by your homeowners, property or auto liability policies, including coverage for you and your family in the event that you’re sued for slander or liable.

Consider the following true claims stories:

A Florida teenager sued her classmates and their parents, accusing them of bullying and humiliating her in a Facebook group.

Actress Courtney Love spent almost six years in litigation, accused of libeling her former attorney in a Twitter post that was visible for less than 10 minutes. 1

Even if you’re found not guilty - or the lawsuit against you gets discarded - you’ll still be on the hook for attorney’s fees and time off work, which can range anywhere from $10K to $20K.

So, if your teenager is involved in a contentious argument on Facebook, or worse yet – a cyberbullying situation – the ramifications could leave you extremely vulnerable with significant out of pocket expenses without umbrella coverage. Investing in an umbrella policy that covers slander and libel, will help bridge the gap between your homeowner’s policy and the legal fees, fines or damages that could result from a social media lawsuit.

Contact your HUB Personal Lines broker to ensure that you – and everyone in your family – are properly covered for your social media exposure. An umbrella insurance policy may be less expensive than you think.