It’s that time of year. Fall is in the air. The leaves are falling from the trees. And, in just a couple of weeks ghosts and goblins, witches and zombies will be knocking on your door screaming “Trick or Treat!” Halloween is a happy holiday, filled with fun, but there are also potential mishaps that should be considered before you start answering the door and handing out candy.
Here’s a helpful list of things you can do to ensure a happy Halloween for everyone:
- Property: Clear your yard of obstructions. Children don’t always use the walkway to your front door. Make sure your entire property is cleared of potential hazards. This can include ladders, garden hoses, flower pots, low hanging tree limbs, even your garden gnomes and statues that could cause someone to trip and fall.
- Decorating: Consider fire safety when decorating. Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable and can easily catch on fire if a lighted jack-o-lantern tips. It’s also important no to overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special spooky effects.
- Outside lighting: Even if you don’t plan on answering your door and giving out candy, turn on all your outside lights to make sure that trick-or-treaters can clearly see where they are going. Remember that it’s hard enough to see in the dark, and even harder when your face is covered by a mask.
- Candles: Never use candles as they cause a high risk of fire, both to your home and to children’s costumes as they walk or run past an open flame. You can buy battery powered jack-o-lanterns or light your pumpkins and walkways with LED candles or glow sticks.
- Pets: Keep your pets inside and away from the front door during trick-or-treating time. With so many people coming and going, shouting, running, and jumping around, even the tamest of pets can get spooked and may jump or bite.
- Driving: Be an extra cautious driver. Drive slowly and be hyper-aware of foot traffic in residential neighborhoods. Check and recheck before making turns or even backing out of your driveway. Excited kids may dart out from anywhere, or trip and fall.
Now that we’ve looked at ways to avoid risk, let’s look at what is covered and not covered if you do have a Halloween mishap.
- Trick-or-Treaters damage your home: Your homeowners policy covers vandalism, such as things like dents in your siding caused by eggs or other items thrown at your home or spray paint removal, when the repair costs exceed your deductible.
- Fire: A fire started by a Halloween candle or electric decorations will be covered. If the fire is extensive and makes your home unlivable, your homeowners insurance may pay for temporary housing and living expenses while you wait for the repairs to be completed.
- Injury on your property: Injuries to trick-or-treaters or party guests are covered by the homeowner liability portion of your policy.
- Car accident caused when avoiding hitting a trick-or-treater: The accident and damage to your car is covered by the collision portion of your auto insurance policy, if you carry collision coverage. Injuries caused in the accident would be covered by the liability portion of your auto insurance and would cover treatment and hospitalization up to the limits of your policy.
- Haunted house: If you turning your dwelling into a haunted house open to visitors, insurance experts recommend being very mindful of your admissions policy. The same insurance protections are in effect for haunted houses when it comes to injuries on your property, with liability and no-fault medical coverage. But if you charge people to come inside your home to see your haunted displays, you may no longer be covered. Charging a fee to enjoy the fun, turns your haunted house into a business. Insurance companies will not cover business activities in your home, unless you have a separate business policy.
Contact us today
Make sure your Halloween is filled with fun and not disaster. If you’re not sure what may or may not be covered by your homeowners or auto insurance, contact the independent insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group to make sure you understand your risks, exposures, and coverage. Take the necessary safety measures now to ensure a Happy Halloween.