Posted on October 31, 2019 at 05:11 PM
Frightening monsters, ghosts and vampires? Not covered. But auto theft and property damage are!
This year’s Halloween festivities are sure to bring plenty of chills, thrills and fun gatherings to Northwest neighborhoods. But awareness, responsible hosting and the right insurance can help protect homeowners, renters and vehicle owners – as well as their visiting ghosts, vampires, superheroes and princesses.
Who will be at your house this Halloween?
Memories are made on Halloween night, for kids, parents and people who like to celebrate and have fun. To make sure your memories are happy ones – not costly nightmares of damaged property or personal injury claims – we urge you to take a few steps to safeguard your property, and make sure your insurance coverage meets your lifestyle with adequate limits of liability and the right policies to protect your home, car and finances.
Candles, frightened pets and wet, dark or poorly maintained walkways all can prove dangerous for your family, guests and trick-or-treaters. And if you’re hosting an adults-only Halloween party that includes alcohol, you could be liable for the safety of your guests – even after they leave the party.
Homeowners, Renters and Umbrellas (Oh, my!)
It’s well known that Homeowners and Renters’ policies pay to help repair or replace damage to your home and/or personal possessions. But injuries to guests on your property are also covered, under the Liability portion of your Homeowners Insurance policy. Most homeowners’ policies start with liability limits of $100,000. But regardless of the season, you may want to consider purchasing at least $300,000 worth of Personal Liability protection and adding an Umbrella Policy to protect your family’s assets.
Your policy also provides “no-fault” or what’s often referred to as “Medical Coverage to Others.” In the event a visitor is injured in or around your home, he or she can submit medical bills to your insurance company up to the limit you’ve chosen – generally from $1,000 to $5,000. This allows payment of smaller medical expenses without needing to file a liability claim.
(Note: both Medical and Liability coverage only apply to guests and do not pay medical bills for you, your family or your pets.)
Homeowners and Renters Insurance also cover damage caused by neighborhood tricksters and vandals as well as damage caused if your decorations ignite a fire. If the fire damage makes your home uninhabitable, additional living expenses for temporary accommodations, such as a hotel, will be covered while your home is being repaired.
If goblins get out of hand and damage the paint or break windows out of a vehicle you own, Comprehensive Coverage can help pay for repairs or replacement. Comprehensive coverage also helps replace your vehicle if it is stolen.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), nearly 2,300 vehicles were stolen on Halloween in 2018 – the third-highest total of vehicles stolen on a holiday last year. Worse yet, Washington state ranked fourth in the nation for holiday auto thefts (data from 2018 based on auto thefts nationwide occurring on one of 11 identified US holidays).
Car thieves likely prey on distracted parents, last-minute shoppers and party-goers during busy holidays, and that includes the rush of Halloween night. Whether you’re at home handing out candy and tending to party guests, or out and about with your kids or friends, take proper care to park in well-lit areas, keep your keys and lock your car.”
These common-sense tips provided by NW Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute will help you avoid the negligence ghouls and safeguard your family, home, guests and trick-or-treaters this Halloween:
- Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. Encourage guests to pick a designated driver so that he or she can drive other guests home.
- Ensure safe walkways by raking or sweeping leaves and other debris away from porches, decks, sidewalks and driveways. Remove all objects around the outside of your house that could cause children to trip or fall.
- Turn on outside lighting so trick-or-treaters know they can visit your home.
- Trim low-hanging branches over walkways.
- Keep walkways well lit.
- Keep pets away from approaching trick-or-treaters. Some pets may get excited or hostile when encountering children dressed in costumes.
- Keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from all combustible and heat-sensitive items. Make sure they are displayed on stable surfaces and out of reach of children and pets. Extinguish candles before leaving a room.
- If you are driving on Halloween, remember to drive slowly and be extra cautious on neighborhood streets – candy-fueled trick-or-treaters can be very distracted pedestrians!
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