It’s Halloween! Halloween can be an especially frightening night for homeowners. You probably already know that there is no such thing as zombie insurance, and your home insurance policy won’t likely cover encounters with the undead. However, your homeowner’s policy may cover these common Halloween tricks.
When Halloween is filled more tricks than treats, it’s imperative to ensure your home insurance policy covers spooky mishaps. Policyholders should check their policy to see what is and what isn’t covered. For example, vandalism is a covered peril in most homeowners, condo, and renters policies. Many insurance policies contain provisions that repair and replace your property damaged from Halloween mischief by trick-or-treaters. Fires are also one of Halloween’s most unforeseen horrors. Halloween decorations have been responsible for 770 home fires and $11.6 million in property damage each year from 2011 to 2015. The National Fire Protection Association research concluded that more than two of every five of Halloween fires began due to decorations coming into close proximity of a heat source.1
Homeowner’s policies cover repairs and living expenses during the repair period, unless the fire was caused by negligence or dangerous activities. (Think putting your candle-lit-jack-o-lantern in a pile of dry leaves or starting a bonfire on your covered porch). Even if you’re not worried about black cats or monsters that lurk in the dark, it still makes sense to take precautions on Halloween. Consider battery powered lights or flameless jack-o-lanterns. If you do use candles, don’t put matches, lighters, or candles in places children can reach.
If you decide to turn your home into a haunted house that is open to visitors and you charge admission, it’s important to note that this is considered running a business in your home, and your residential policy likely does not offer coverage from damages arising from your new haunted house business. If you’re thinking about hosting a haunted house, contact your insurance agent to find out about “special events” liability policy.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and is a wonderful experience for both parents and children. Check to make sure your policies cover these common Halloween-related concerns, understand any exclusions that may exist, and close any loopholes you think are important enough to be closed. Happy Halloween everyone and stay safe!
The world seems full of good men – even if there are monsters in it.
‒ Bram Stoker, Dracula