Halloween can be a fright when trick-or-treaters flock to your property. But taking reasonable steps to safeguard your home and having the right homeowners or renters insurance makes it easier to get into the spirit of things, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Your homeowners or renters policy provides financial protection for a number of disasters, whether they occur on Halloween or any other day of the year—including the following:
Fire: If a jack-o-lantern or other decoration goes up in flames and damages your property, your homeowners or renters policy covers fire-related losses. And, if your home is uninhabitable following a covered peril like a fire, additional living expenses (ALE) coverage will pay for alternate accommodations, such as a hotel, while your home is being repaired.
Vandalism. In the event your home or your personal possessions are damaged by neighborhood tricksters, homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for vandalism and malicious mischief.
Injuries. The liability portion of a homeowners or renters policy comes into play if a trick-or-treater is injured while at your home. This would provide coverage for legal expenses and possible judgments against you—up to the policy limits. Your policy also includes no-fault medical coverage so the injured person can file their claim directly with your insurer—without having to sue you. And if your dog gets a little skittish from all the commotion and accidently nips a trick-or-treater, your liability coverage includes damages or injuries caused by pets.
Of course, the best solution is to prevent damage or injury from happening in the first place.
- Keep walkways well-lit and free of clutter. Not only will a well-lit home send a message to your neighborhood that you are participating in the festivities, but it will also ensure that those goblins can see where they are going as they approach your door.
- Keep electrical wires tied down so that scampering trick or treaters don’t stumble. Many long trailing costumes put kids at risk of tripping, especially if they are wearing masks and are unfamiliar with the property. Electrical cords should be securely tied down and out of the path.
- Make sure handrails/railings are secure. A child can easily fall when mounting the stairs if railings are wobbly or come loose. Fix or reinforce your railings a few weeks before the witching hour.
- Use battery-operated bulbs instead of candles in pumpkins. The National Fire Protection Association’s most recent statistics show that decorations were the first items to be ignited in 920 reported home structure fires on average each year, resulting in six civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries and $12.9 million in direct property damage.
- Consider raising liability limits. Generally, most homeowners insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability insurance. It is generally recommended that homeowners consider purchasing at least $300,000 to $500,000 worth of liability protection. If you own property or assets that are worth more than the liability limits in your policy, a separate umbrella or excess liability policy can provides extra coverage.