Top 5 Common Halloween Related Events That Can Result in an Insurance Claim

30 Oct

Halloween can be a blast, trick or treating, handing out candy to all of the neighborhood ghouls and just seeing the various costumes that come to your door. Unfortunately, Halloween can also bring out teens who like to add vandalism and property damage to their trick or treat routine. 

In addition to worrying about vandalism, you need to keep in mind that you are also liable for the people that come on to your property. If one of the tricksters or treaters is injured or your decorations somehow cause an accident, you can be held liable. Fortunately, your homeowners insurance should cover most Halloween related claims. 

Here are a few of the most common Halloween related events that can result in an insurance claim:

1. Falls and Slips: Kids running around in the dark, dressed in sometimes long and clunky costumes can easily lead to falls or slips. In most cases, the liability portion of your homeowners policy would deal with these types of claims, provided you took appropriate precautions.

Make sure that your walkways and driveway are clear of obvious tripping hazards. If the weather is bad, clear away any snow or other debris that could lead to slips and falls. If your decorations are blocking your walkways or extension cords are laying around, clear them up to avoid tripping up a trick or treater.

If you fail to take these types of precautions, your insurer may deny your claim, it is your responsibility to make sure your home and surrounding area are clear of obvious hazards. 

If you allow trick or treaters into your home for a homemade haunted house your risk goes up dramatically. Scared kids can easily startle and trip or fall. It is never a great idea to let people inside your home while you try to scare them, leave the haunted houses to the professionals who know what they are doing and are carrying millions of dollars in liability coverage.

2. Dog Bites: Kids are not the only thing that can become both excided and scared on Halloween. Dogs can quickly become confused and scared by a horde of costumed kids charging up your walkway. If your dog ends up biting a trick or treater you can end up with an insurance claim on your hands. 

The bodily injury liability portion of your policy would cover these types of injuries up to your coverage limits. It should be noted that some dog breeds can be excluded from coverage (think pit bulls) so check with your insurer in regard to any breed restrictions your policy may have. 

In general, it is a good idea to keep your dog in a kennel or bedroom during the witching hours of Halloween to prevent the dog from getting upset and to avoid an expensive insurance claim. 

3. Fire: Candles can be a major part of Halloween decorations, both to provide a spooky mood as well as to light up those pumpkins. They can end up starting an unexpected fire which could result in your house being damaged or destroyed. Your homeowner policy will absolutely cover fire damage, unless the fire was the result of negligence on your part. 

Take care with all candles, place them carefully, make sure they are monitored and blow them out at the end of the night. Consider keeping a fire extinguisher handy in the event a fire does break out. 

4. Vandalism: It is certainly possible that your home will be vandalized on Halloween but in most cases this consists of some eggs and maybe toilet paper covering your trees. These rarely cause enough damage to file a claim on your insurance policy.

It’s important to remember that home insurance should be saved for major issues and expenses. Once you make a claim there is a very good chance your premium will be headed up so pay for small damage out of pocket. 

However, it may be your car that ends up vandalized if you leave it out on the street. According to data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), almost twice as many vehicles are vandalized on Halloween compared to normal days. This translates into 

1,253 claims filed for damage that occurred on October 31st.

This type of damage would be covered under your car insurance policy, as long as you are carrying comprehensive coverage. 

5. Gravestones: Protection from your homeowners insurance policy extends to the local graveyard. If a family members gravestone is damaged or destroyed due to Halloween vandalism your homeowners insurance may step up to replace it. Check with your insurance agent if it is covered but remember, any time you make a claim your premium may go up so consider covering this damage out of pocket. 

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