Protect Yourself From Halloween Horrors
It’s the time of year when cute trick-or-treaters ring our doorbell asking for sweet treats. But every once in a while, we might have to deal with damage created by larger monsters that arrive at our door asking for trouble.
Vandalism and property damage are two potential Halloween insurance concerns. You also have to consider the possibility of trick-or-treaters getting hurt on your property or accidents caused by decorations or other holiday props. We make sure our children are protected by wearing reflectors and going only to homes we know, but do you know if your insurance policies are ready to handle all the horrors that the holiday may bring?
Here are a few of the most common Halloween mishaps that might trigger an insurance claim.
- Slips and Falls – It is easy for smaller children to trip or slip and hurt themselves, especially with elaborate or clunky costumes that make it hard for them to see clearly or walk normally. Add the anticipation of candy and a significant sugar buzz, and tumbling toddlers become an even more likely occurrence.Generally, the liability portion of your homeowners policy will cover these types of accidents. But you should still take precautions to prevent them. Clear your walkway of fallen leaves and pine straw, and move any electrical cords or decorations that could trip up your visitors. If any of your decorations or the condition of your walkway presents a significant hazard to trick-or-treaters, your insurance may not cover the damages. If you are unsure about what constitutes a hazard, give us a call at 803-791-1120 or email us at email@example.com.
- Fires – The same candles that light up your traditional jack-o-lantern cause around 10,000 accidental fires every year in the United States. Your homeowners policy covers repairs and living expenses until repairs are made — unless the fire was a result of negligent or dangerous activities (for example, putting your candle-lit jack-o-lantern in a pile of dry leaves, or starting a bonfire on your porch).
- Dog Bites – Even dogs in the top of their class in obedience school can become overexcited and frightened by the sight of a mass of costumed youngsters and bite one or more of the children. Dog bites are usually covered under the liability and medical expenses portions of your policy, but rules vary by insurer and by state. Check your policy, especially if you got your dog after the policy was signed.
- Vandalism – Classic Halloween pranks such as egging or toilet-papering your home are an inconvenience, for certain. While vandalism is covered by your homeowners policy, pranks such as these probably aren’t worth filing a claim considering your deductible unless there is significant damage.Damage to your car is typically an auto insurance issue through a comprehensive policy.
- Gravestones – Did you know that theft or damage of a tombstone is often covered under homeowners policies? Even though the graves are not located in your backyard (we hope), Halloween vandalism of your loved one’s grave is often covered.
To prevent mishaps this Halloween, we offer these suggestions:
- Do not set up any hazardous decorations.
- Use flashlights and battery-operated candles instead of flames for illumination.
- Keep your house and all walkways well lit.
- Remove any slip hazards.
- Avoiding handing out candy that contains peanuts and other allergens. (Learn about the teal pumpkin initiative.)
- Consider the audience when scaring trick-or-treaters. For instance, don’t jump out of the bushes and shout “Boo!” at a toddler or elderly person who may not be solid on their feet!
With a little forethought, you can enjoy the holiday with confidence. Check to make sure your policies cover these common Halloween-related concerns, understand any exclusions that may exist, and close any loopholes that you think are important enough to be closed so you can relax and enjoy the holiday with your friends and children.