Halloween: A Spooky Liability

By: Eliana Sagarin

With so many Halloween liabilities, will the holiday end up being a trick or treat for you?

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A crisp fall evening: You’ve armed yourself with a warm glass of apple cider and a candy-filled bowl. Halloween is here, and you’re prepared for trick-or-treaters and an evening of spooky fun. But for many homeowners, it’s an evening of mischief that can end up costing an arm and a leg. With over 40 million sugar-buzzed kids going door-to-door, there’s potential for those treats to turn tricky: According to Traveler’s claims for theft, vandalism and other crimes are up by 20 percent on Halloween.

We’re here to help you ward off ghouls and keep your assets safe. Boo!

Insurance Scares

Before you find your door kicked in, your mailbox destroyed, or your window shattered, a close look at your homeowners policy should keep the scares at bay. Most policies cover theft and vandalism, but you should make sure you’re comfortable with the deductible—which often falls between $500-$1,000. Replacing a mailbox might set you back less than $500, but it can be an expense worth avoiding with some tweaking to your policy.

Accidental fires happen every year as the result of jack-o’-lanterns and other Halloween hazards. Homeowners policies cover repairs and living expenses should you have to relocate during the repair period—that is unless the fire was the result of negligence. Keep candles and/or jack-o’-lanterns in a safe place, away from dry leaves and other flammables.

If you’re heading out of the house to celebrate and leaving your home unattended, enlist the help of some trustworthy neighbors to keep an eye on your property. Take extra precautions by keeping some lights on to deter potential tricksters and thieves.

Between 2008-2012, data from the Highway Loss Data Institute found a boost in auto insurance claims around Halloween. Make sure your auto-insurance is comprehensive and includes a wide range of damage, including vandalism and auto-part theft. Eight in 10 drivers are covered, but for those without enough coverage, those Halloween “tricks” could pack a punch. Park your car off the street if possible, or, ideally, keep it in a garage overnight.

Frightening Liabilities

Your impressive graveyard display on your front yard might look straight out of a horror movie, but if a trick-or-treater trips and hurts themselves on your property, you might be in for a lawsuit. Make sure your decorations are easy to navigate, without any sharp corners or precarious elements. Keep the path to your front door well-lit and unobstructed.

Your pets might love greeting the trick-or-treaters, but sometimes a scary mask in combination with an influx of strange guests can spook even the most passive pet. Don’t risk the potentially dangerous consequences of an aggressive animal and keep your pets in a crate for the evening. Keeping dogs occupied with a new bone or toy might be the treat they need to keep them calm and happy.