What’s Scarier Than Halloween? Realizing Your Homeowners Policy Wasn’t Ready for The Big Night

halloween-478582_640Halloween is just a handful of days away, and while this fun holiday is celebrated by all ages, we know that the night can come with a fair share of dangers in addition to the delights. Perhaps no one is more aware of these dangers than your friendly neighborhood insurance agent, who nervously eyeballs the 31st counting down on the calendar, realizing that the claims could come flooding in on November 1st unless homeowners are prepared.

That’s why Carroll Marshall Insurance is taking this time to warn you about a few of the dangers that can come with Halloween, what they mean for your homeowners insurance policy, and what you can do to prevent them.

When “Boo!” turns into “Boom!”

Costumes are one of the most fun parts of Halloween, and whether it’s the delight of seeing little ones dressed up in their fairytale best coming to your door for candy, or enjoying the evening having a costume party and a few adult beverages with your own friends, few things bring more joy to the holiday than picking out your character of choice and getting creative. Unfortunately, when you mix costumes that often have unusual shoes, longer-than-normal fabrics or accessories (like capes), or masks that inhibit your field of vision, accidents due to tripping and falling are a definite risk. When you add the buzz of sugar (for the kids) or alcohol (for some adults) you could have a disaster on your hands, and if the accident happens on your property, you would be liable. Thankfully, your insurance policy does cover injuries that occur on your property in most cases, but it’s always best to take precautions. Make sure all walkways and steps are clear of decorations and debris, keep areas well lit if possible, and check that handrails, brick pavers, etc. are secure and safe. No one wants the evening to be ruined by a fall that could have been prevented.

Getting Fired Up.

Getting fired up for a holiday is fine, unless it actually involves flames. While jack-o-lanterns and Halloween decor were traditionally lit with candles, modern day technology means most of these items are lit with LED bulbs (aka artificial candles) and are much safer for people and their homes. However, it’s not uncommon for a handful of people to stick to tradition and use real candles, or use candles in other types of decor. Thanks to our year-round warm climate, it’s also not atypical to see mosquito candles and/or torches being used to keep the bugs at bay on Halloween night. When you mix open flames with kids, costumes, and excessive decorations, accidents are bound to happen. If possible, use flameless options for your festivities, but if you must use open flames, do so with caution. Make sure children know to keep a safe distance from candles and torches, and have at least one adult monitoring open flames at all times. Keep water nearby in case of emergencies so any accidental flare ups can be quickly diminished, as well as a phone if the fire department needs to make a quick visit. Better to be safe!

Crime Never Pays (but Your Insurance Company Does!).

Vandalism is a common issue on Halloween. Older kids and teens who are up to no good, actual criminals meaning harm, or even intoxicated adults who are goofing off can pose a threat to your property, and many homeowners wonder who is responsible for the damage. While the crime of vandalism itself will be held over the perpetrator(s), the cost of repairs or replacement property is usually covered by your homeowner’s policy. What’s more? Graves are another common target of Halloween vandals, and if your loved one was covered under your policy, their grave is likely still covered as well, even if it’s off-site. This is something to discuss with your insurance agent, as it could save you a lot of money out of pocket if and when a headstone or grave is damaged in the event of vandalism.

We hope you enjoy a fun and safe Halloween with your friends and family. If you have questions about what these risks could mean for your coverage this season, Carroll Marshall Insurance is here, and our advisors are ready and waiting to help walk you through the details of your individual policy so you know what to expect. Give us a call for your appointment or stop by our office!

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