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There may have been a moment, a brief blip of Internet time, when trolling was harmless and funny. But as instances online harassment and cyberbullying have escalated, we've become aware of how serious the real life consequences of Internet trolling can be.
As schools are now teaching online safety and states are passing cyberbullying laws, insurance companies are also pitching in and providing "troll insurance" to cover victims of online harassment. So what does troll insurance cover and can you add it to your insurance coverage?
For now at least, only UK-based Chubb Insurance is offering troll coverage, although American carriers may follow suit. And the £50,000 coverage (about $75k in U.S. dollars) is aimed at wealthier policy holders. But for those that can afford it, the coverage seems extensive.
The Telegraph reports troll insurance can "pay for counseling, lost income if they are off work for a week or more, and help from online experts for victims of cyber-bullying and their families." The policy may even include a "reputation management team" who can restore your Internet image or a "digital forensic specialist" to track down online attackers. Chubb clients manager Tara Parchment told the paper, "We see insurance as helping our clients get back to how they were before the incident occurred - whether it's an incident that affects their home or as a person."
Taking It to the Trolls
Until troll insurance makes it to the American market, there are other ways of dealing with online harassment. Limiting your social media presence and being careful about the personal information you share online is a great way to prevent cyberbullying. And you can sue anonymous Internet trolls -- lawsuits for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress could compensate you for online abuse.
And, as noted above, cyberbullying is a crime in many states, so you may be able to report online harassment to the police. If you're homeowner's policy can't protect you from Internet trolls just yet, perhaps law enforcement can.