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Why Halloween Can Be A Fright Night For Homeowners

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Halloween is a fun time of year for children and festive adults alike. However, the holiday can bring tricks as well as the treats. That's why homeowners should take the time to carefully review their insurance policies, prepare for common safety mishaps and learn how to avoid them.

Injured trick or treaters

Homeowners have a responsibility to keep their property safe and are subject to premises liability. If a person slips, trips or falls because of dangerous or hazardous conditions, the homeowner may be fully responsible.

  • Make sure the area surrounding the entry to your home, including the sidewalks, is free of any obstacles
  • Check for uneven pathways, slip or trip hazards, wires or cables in the walking path
  • Illuminate walking paths for your visitors to avoid unnecessary trips and falls

Auto damage

You probably don't think much about your car when you're making Halloween safety preparations, but you should! There are tons of people out and about on Halloween, and all it takes is one mean-minded trickster to cause damage to your vehicle.

  • An analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that personal cars are twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween as on an average day
  • HDLI also found that in general, claim frequency for vandlism increases over the weekends; since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, it gives us twice the reason to be cautious
  • Common vandalism claims include tired being slashed and windows being smashed
  • Remember to park your car in a safe, well-lit location or keep it in a garage

Vandalism and stolen decorations

If your decorations are damaged or stolen, the losses may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Before making a claim, consider carefully when the loss is worth pursuing. You don't want to rack up a lot of small claims, as too many claims can lead to policy cancellation.

  • Consider using preventative security measures to scare away potential thieves and vandals
  • Motion-detections lights and inexpensive security cameras in front of your home
  • Secure your decorations as much as possible to make them harder to steal

Decoration hazards

Everyone loves decorating for Halloween, but many don't consider the safety element when covering their home in creepy decor.

  • The National Fire Protection Association reports that Halloween decorations cause more than 1,000 home fires each year
  • Nearly half of decoration-related home fires occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source
  • If possible, use battery-operated candles in your decorations instead of real ones
  • Don't put candles where kids, pets or intoxicated adults can knock them over

Tipsy partygoers

The National Retail Federation predicts that 49 million people will host or attend a Halloween party this year. If you are hosting a party where alcohol is present, keep in mind that your tipsy party guests are your responsibility due to "social host liability."

  • Much like a bar is liable for over-serving patrons, if you let a drunk driver leave your home, you're liable for serving too much alcohol and responsible for any damage and injuries
  • Before hosting a Halloween party, ask your insurance agent about your homeowners coverage and limitations for this kind of risk
  • Make sure you have a system for monitoring alcohol intake and ensuring partygoers end their night safely, such as taking away keys from those who drink or calling them an Uber
  • You can also hire a professional bartender who is trained to recognize signs of intoxication and cut off overindulged guests

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