October is a magical time of year. Crisp Autumn mornings, the changing colors of the leaves, and the massive displays in stores are all signs of one thing: Halloween is drawing near. While ghosts, ghouls, and goblins may be frightening enough, what if we told you there are many more things to fear on Halloween? Though the malicious monsters will fade away after midnight, lacking the proper insurances to protect your home and property can give you a scare that lasts for months or even years to come. To enjoy this holiday with peace of mind, follow these tips to protect yourself inside and outside your home.
At Home – The Risks:
While you may offer treats to your visitors on Halloween, some people may choose a trick instead. According to Geico’s research from 2019, instances of vandalism increase by 30% on Halloween compared to the average number of daily claims. Additionally, Halloween is the third most common day for auto theft. Beyond these outside risks, homeowners should also be mindful of potential insurance claims due to fires or injuries to trick-or-treaters.
How to Prepare:
To minimize risks while still enjoying the holiday, we recommend that homeowners first ensure that their property is sufficiently well-lit. Bright lighting can serve as a deterrent from would-be vandals. It can also illuminate any potential tripping-hazards in your yard. To protect your vehicle from possible vandalism or theft, it is ideal to park it inside a garage. If this is not an option, park in a well-lit area, lock your doors, and remove any tempting valuables that can be seen from outside. Once you have ensured that your home is well-lit and your car is parked securely, begin reviewing that your decorations have been set up safely. Check your yard for potential tripping hazards such as hidden extension cords or divots in the ground. After confirming that there are no tripping hazards outside the home, check your decorations for potential fire hazards. It’s best to avoid open flames in favor of battery-operated candles or LED lighting as a safer alternative. Ensure that you do not drape any fabrics over these lights to avoid a possible fire. Lastly, confirm that you are appropriately insured from all the spooky possibilities below:
- Comprehensive Auto Insurance: This will cover your vehicle in the event of vandalism or theft.
- Homeowners Insurance/Condo Insurance: For traditional single-family homes, Homeowners Insurance will protect you in the event of vandalism or theft inside the house. If you live in a condo, condo insurance protects you from vandalism or theft inside your home.
Going Out – The Risks:
Whether you have children to take trick-or-treating, or you are attending a party, many people choose to spend Halloween away from home. This can make for a fun and memorable night, but celebrators should be careful while on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Traffic Safety Administration reports that an average of 32 people are killed in automotive accidents every Halloween, with 42% of those incidents involving at least one drunk driver. Additionally, Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, with the second deadliest day being November 1 due to incidents after midnight on Halloween. The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to be stricken and killed by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.
How to Prepare:
First, whether you are walking or driving, put any electronic devices away. While distracted driving at any time can be a deadly endeavor, the increased foot traffic due to trick-or-treaters requires that drivers be particularly cautious. Remain vigilant of people walking in the road and watch for children in dark costumes that may be difficult to see. If you are trick-or-treating with your children, try to place yourself between them and the road to prevent them from running out. Additionally, look to incorporate reflective tape or lights into your costumes to increase visibility from the road. To stay safe and protected from these risks, make sure you are adequately insured:
- Automotive Liability Insurance: This insurance covers medical costs for others if you injure them in a car accident. Additionally, this form of insurance can help pay for legal expenses in a lawsuit relating to an automotive accident. Check your policy to confirm the coverage limit.
- Uninsured Motorist/Personal Injury Protection Insurance: These forms of insurance can cover damages in the event of a hit-and-run or other automotive vs. pedestrian incidents. They could cover the medical bills or lost wages as a result of the accident. Please note that rules regarding these forms of insurance vary from state to state; check with your local insurance agent for state-specific questions.
For more information on ways to properly cover your home and other property with insurance, talk to your local agent today to build the perfect insurance bundle that is right for you.