Is Halloween a Homeowners Insurance Risk?

22 Oct
Halloween can be a risk to homeowners and home insurance.

It doesn’t matter if you are handing out the candy yourself or just leave a bowl on the porch, inviting people onto your property can be risky, especially sugar fueled running children.

Its almost time for trick or treaters to start ringing doorbells and asking for candy. While you probably have the candy bowl stocked and the decorations up there is one more thing that you want to be aware of before greeting those first ghosts and goblins.

Halloween is a time for fun but there can also be serious liabilities when you invite neighbors and strangers onto your property. Here are a few home insurance risks that you should beware of and how to stay safe during the holiday:

Handing out candy

It doesn’t matter if you are handing out the candy yourself or just leave a bowl on the porch, inviting people onto your property can be risky, especially sugar fueled running children. If anyone falls and gets hurt there can be liability issues for you.

Homeowners insurance will pay out for any trips, slips or falls that occur on your property, regardless of whether it is indoors or outside. This may come in handy if you are sued because a trick or treater trips over a loose brick, an uneven walk or even because the front of your house is not lit well enough. Your home insurer will cover the cost of your defense and in the event that you lose, they will pay out a settlement.

While it varies depending on your policy, smaller injuries should be covered by the “no-fault medical” portion of your policy. In this scenario there would not be a lawsuit involved and the policy would simply cover the cost of the claim.

When it comes to larger claims or lawsuits, it pays to know the coverage limits of your policy. The majority of policies will cover up to $100,000 for these types of claims. If a serious injury would occur this may not be enough. It is possible to add additional liability coverage by purchasing an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy provides additional coverage to both your auto and home coverage. It kicks in when your other policy limits are reached.

Staging a Neighborhood Haunted House

If you and your family celebrate Halloween with gusto and transform your house and yard into a haunted mansion, you may want to be careful about who you let take the tour.

The same rules apply on the inside of your house as on the outside. If someone trips down the stairs or runs into a wall when fleeing your house of horrors, you could find yourself involved in a lawsuit. Once again, your homeowners insurance will come to the rescue, but be mindful of your policy limits. Experts recommend limiting admittance to neighbors and friends that you know.

You should also keep in mind that if you push it to the next level and charge people to come into your haunted house, you could be on the hook if a lawsuit happens. A homeowner policy will not cover claims if you are conducting business activities, a separate business policy would be necessary.

Eggings and Vandalism

While vandalism and theft are covered by your homeowner policy, you may want to hold off before making a claim. In many cases the value of the stolen decorations or vandalism will fall below your deductible amount. If you do decide to file a claim you will need to get a police report.

Insurance experts advice against making small claims on your homeowners policy as it will likely result in a rise in your premium. A number of small claims can even lead to a policy cancellation. It is best to save your homeowners policy for big losses, such as fires or water damage.

Halloween can be one of the best holidays of the year but a trip or fall on your property can result in a horrifying lawsuit. Make sure you are properly covered by your homeowners policy.