Halloween can expose homeowners to a number of different liabilities. A home may catch fire from a fallen candle, become the target of a random act of vandalism, or a trick or treater could fall on the front steps.
To be prepared for the big night, homeowners should review their current insurance policy to make sure they understand any limits on their coverage. Finding out too late that an incident is not covered could turn a bad night into a financial disaster.
Whether it is eggs on your siding, a smashed mailbox, or the theft of your property, there are many things that can happen on Halloween. Common acts of vandalism may be covered under a home insurance policy, but there can be exceptions that leave owners liable for repair costs. For example, vandalism may not be covered if a property has been uninhabited for an extended period of time.
Keeping your property well-lit may help keep would-be vandals away from your home. If you do suffer a covered loss from vandalism, you will have to consider whether the cost of repairing the damage is high enough to make filing a claim worthwhile.
Families need to be careful to avoid creating a hazard with their Halloween decorations, especially when putting out candles, jack-o-lanterns, or other decorations with an open flame. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, incidents involving jack-o-lanterns have accounted for about 45,000 fires during the last three years.
Avoiding open-flame decorations altogether can help keep you and your family safe, but faulty lights can also put your home at risk. Consumers should always look for products with safety certifications and inspect newly purchased lights for physical defects before using them around the house or yard.
A fire may be covered under your policy, but you may be liable for the damage if the insurer finds that you have been negligent. Concerned property owners should review their policy to understand how their insurer defines negligence.
Keeping the path to your front door well-lit and free of obstacles can help prevent injuries from happening. In the unfortunate event a trick or treater or parent is injured on your property, your policy may provide the appropriate liability coverage. However, this is another area where it is important for homeowners to ensure they are not making an accident more likely through negligent behavior.
Property owners need to understand how these common Halloween issues are covered under their policy. At the same time, insurance carriers can do their part to help keep homeowners protected by making sure property valuations are accurate and up to date.