Whether they’re in search of tricks or treats, ghouls and goblins who visit your home this Halloween could scare up a home insurance claim. Here’s how to make sure there’s hardly a ghost of a chance of your insurance being jeopardized.
Clumsy little goblins
When kids are running from door to door in masks and ill-fitting costumes and carrying pillow cases of candy, they’re bound to stumble. If a trick-or-treater takes a tumble on your property, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the medical bills, as long as you weren’t negligent, according to insurance consultant Dan Weedin.
So a kid who tripped and fell because he couldn’t see through his mask wouldn’t qualify as negligence on your part. However, if a kid falls because of your elaborate decorations, your insurance might not cover the claim and you could be sued.
To avoid this scenario, make sure the area around the entry to your home – including the sidewalks – is free of obstacles.
Regardless of negligence, a Halloween-related home insurance claim still could trigger a hike in your home insurance premium, according to Julie Sartori, a private insurance account manager at Assurance.
“You won’t know how much it affects rates until renewal,” Sartori says, “because rate increases depend on many factors, including the severity of the claim and amount paid out.”
Tipsy party ghouls
If you’re hosting a monster mash, beware of how much booze your guests guzzle. Weedin says that if one of your Halloween party guests gets blitzed and then crashes his car, your home insurance could be canceled.
“You have a responsibility as a party host to not allow someone to drive away from your party intoxicated,” Weedin says.
This is known as social host liability. If you let a drunk driver leave your home, you’re in the hot seat for serving too much alcohol to him and could be responsible for any damage and injuries. Furthermore, your home insurer might drop your policy or dramatically raise your rates if it’s forced to pay whopping medical or repair bills, or if it’s got to defend you in a lawsuit.
“Just like a bar is liable, a homeowner who overserves a guest and lets them leave their home is responsible for the damages and injuries if an accident occurs,” Sartori says.
Hosting a haunted house
Want to set up a neighborhood haunted house in your yard or garage? Make sure you take precautions to avoid a costly homeowner’s insurance claim.
“Ensure walkways are clear and free of trip hazards like wires, throw rugs and pumpkins,” Weedin says. “A haunted house that was not properly set up leaves room for someone getting hurt, or is not properly supervised can absolutely lead to higher home insurance rates.”
How to prevent a scary claim
One insurance option for Halloween revelers is a one-time special event policy. This type of policy can be purchased to cover you in the event someone is injured or property is damaged at your Halloween festivities. The coverage is available for other at-home events, such as weddings and graduation parties.
Companies such as EventHelper sell this type of coverage. At EventHelper, a policy with $1 million worth of liability coverage (including injury and damage) costs roughly $190.