The Night of Fright is Upon Us
Grocery store aisles are full of princess dress and superhero suits, fun-size candy, and frightful orange and black decorations. Kids, adults, friends, couples, and families have spent the last month or more carefully choosing terrifying or out-of-the box costumes that will get them, like, the most likes ever on Facebook and Instagram.
Halloween is clawing its way out of the grave and into our lives, and it’s time to make sure a lack of home insurance won’t bury you in the event of an incident. Following are a few sinister scenarios to watch out for:
As soon as the temperatures dipped down just far enough to warrant – maybe we should say allow – indulging in boot season, pumpkin patches began to become some of the most crowded public venues. Nothing says fall like pumpkins, and the age-old tradition of carving them gets children and adults alike excited for the upcoming holiday.
Even for the most careful carvers, accidents can happen and serious gashes can send you, friends, or family members to the ER. Always supervise when children are using sharp knives to carve faces into pumpkins. Or nix the knives and opt for paintbrushes this year instead.
But carving isn’t the only threat looming over the pumpkins on the porch. The flames bringing a terrorizing touch to the carved faces are a reason to be concerned as well.
What if a child clad in a Grim Reaper costume comes sprinting up to your doorstep in pursuit of candy, trips on the top step, and knocks over a pumpkin? If you have candle flickering in said pumpkin, the trick-or-treater’s loose costume fabric along with decorations or other things on your porch could become engulfed in flames.
In fact, between 2009 and 2011 during the three-day stint around Halloween, 33,900 fires were reported, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Those fires resulted in $96 million in property damage per year during the three-year span, the report said. In lieu of candles this year, opt for battery powered lights – tea lights work great – to make your home safer for the local kiddos.
Decorations to Die For
As the unofficial beginning for the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, New Years, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day all queued up behind it, homeowners can get a little carried away with decorating for Halloween.
Corn stalks, hay bales, pumpkins, spider webs, skeletons, fake blood, inflatable ghosts, orange lights, spooky sound effects. Each and every neighborhood collectively pulls out all the stops to make Halloween spectacular for trick-or-treaters. But before you get so in-depth with the décor, keep your eyes peeled for potential dangers.
For example, fake blood pooled around your entryway could cause visitors to slip and fall and hurt themselves. Different decorations present various threats, and if you don’t have adequate liability coverage included in your home insurance policy, you may be paying for medical costs for your guests out-of-pocket.
If You’ve Got It, Haunt It
Some homeowners enjoy transforming their suburban abodes into horrifying haunted houses. Just remember that in doing so, you’re yet again relying on your liability coverage.
When kids get scared, they may take off running. They may even run smack dab into a wall and suffer an injury. In this instance, you likely would be liable since the incident occurred on your property. If you skimped on liability coverage, you could wind up paying a pretty penny for medical expenses, depending on the extent of the injury.
Also worth mentioning is that if you charge an entry fee for your haunted house and an injury results, your insurance may view it as a business. And if you don’t have a business policy, you may not receive any liability coverage. Know the ins and outs of your policy and the situations in which you are and aren’t protected so that you can make adjustments.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Well, actually we’re talking about domesticated animals, but you get the point. Some pets don’t react well to strangers. If you know your pet might get defensive with trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell all night long, put it in a gated room so that fright night doesn’t become bite night. Dog bites alone cost insurance providers about $530 million in 2014, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Confine your pets because it’s better to be safe than sorry about this potential peril.
Dance, Dance, Dance Until You Die!
If you’re engaging in a little Hocus Pocus – you see what we did here – this Halloween and plan on hosting a party that features alcoholic beverages on the menu, there are steps you should take to reduce the risk that your guests will drunkenly drive home.
This year, Halloween is on a Saturday, which is great news for kids and adults alike. The last time the holiday fell on a weekend was in 2008 and the III reported that more than half – 58%, to be exact – of highway fatalities on Halloween night involved drivers with blood-alcohol contents that either met or exceeded the legal limit.
If you’re not aware, in the instance that an impaired party guest leaves your killer soiree and causes a wreck that injures or kills someone, the blame may fall on you.
Be a responsible host and collect your guests’ car keys as they walk in the door and be cognizant of their alcohol intake so that you’re able to cut them off when necessary. If that seems like a job you don’t want to do, hire a bartender to shoulder the burden. Lastly, insure that all guests either have a designated driver or are spending the night if they choose to imbibe.
Creep It Real
Home insurance is in place to protect you from life’s unforeseen moments, but you still should do your part to reduce the risk of incidents occurring on your property.
Enjoy the holiday and Trick or Treat Yo’self!