Is Your Home Insurance Ready for Halloween?

Are You Protected Against Halloween Hijinks and Mishaps?

Is Your Home Insurance Ready for Halloween?
October 4, 2016

On Halloween, we all enjoy handing out treats to the little monsters that arrive at our door asking for candy. Unfortunately, some of us have to deal with damage created by larger monsters that arrive at our door asking for trouble.

Vandalism and property damage are just some scary 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 accoutrements. Are your insurance policies ready to handle any horrors that the holiday may bring?

Here are some of the most common Halloween events 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 it’s a wonder these accidents do not happen more often.

    Generally, the liability portion of your homeowner’s policy will cover these types of accidents. However, it is important that you leave your path clear of obvious hazards. 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, check with your insurance agent.

  • Dog Bites – Even the best-behaved dog can become overexcited and frightened by the sight of a horde of costumed youngsters charging their home, 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 – Vandalism is clearly covered, but you have to assess the amount of damage and whether it is worth filing a claim given your deductible. The old classics such as egging your house or toilet-papering your trees are irritating, but do not usually cause significant damage.

    Damage to your car is typically an auto insurance issue through a comprehensive policy. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover auto damage, but it probably does not.

  • Accidental Fires – Candles used to set a spooky mood in the home or to light jack-o-lanterns cause accidental fires every year. Homeowner’s policies cover repairs and living expenses during the repair period, 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).

  • Gravestones – Did you know that theft or damage of a tombstone is often covered under homeowner’s policies? Even though the graves are not located in your backyard (we hope), Halloween vandalism of the resting places of your loved ones is frequently protected.

You can limit the possibility of mishaps and accidents through simple preventative measures. Use batteries instead of flames for illumination, keep your house well lit, remove any slip hazards (including ice and snow if you live in a colder climate), and do not set up any hazardous decorations.

With some foresight, 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. Then you will not have to worry about a damage claim or lawsuit rising from the night to consume your bank account and terrorize your financial plans.

  Conversation   |   12 Comments

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Erin | 10.26.15 @ 14:39
I never thought about these downsides to a happy occasion. Thanks for the heads up.
Sarah | 10.26.15 @ 14:39
Score one for rural living!
Steffanie | 10.26.15 @ 14:39
Since we don't celebrate Halloween, I can't imagine needing this for that particular reason, but its good to keep in mind for other gatherings.
Elaine | 10.26.15 @ 14:40
Never thought about this side. Interesting!
Sara | 10.26.15 @ 14:41
You know I never really thought about Halloween as holiday that needs extra protection.
Angie | 10.26.15 @ 14:42
Best to be prepared for the unknown.
Christina | 10.26.15 @ 14:43
Vandalism isn't the only insurance issue for Halloween - having people come to your door is a risk in and of itself. if someone trips and injures themselves on your steps, etc., you are liable.
Carla Truett | 10.26.15 @ 14:45
We live out in the country and have no trick or treaters unless it is our grandbaby, or a niece or nephew.
Crystal | 10.26.15 @ 14:46
And we're expected to have 500 kids this year. Makes me want to put a sign at the end "Pass at your own risk. No. Really."
Amanda | 10.26.15 @ 14:46
I love Halloween and have insurance but never thought about this. Good list to really think through, Thanks!
Bobbie | 10.26.15 @ 14:46
Suddenly glad we put the house on lock down during Halloween
gracie | 10.26.15 @ 14:47
Things I have never thought about when inviting friends around for the holidays. Good things to give a think over.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.09.16 @ 09:35
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