Every year, Halloween mishaps cause a spike in insurance claims. And while this year’s holiday will be different because of COVID-19 and social distancing, many people will still celebrate, which means you could encounter some Halloween horrors of your own. Here are seven of the most common Halloween headaches and how insurance can help ease the fright.
1. Your car gets vandalized
Car insurance vandalism claims spike on Halloween, and eggs, pumpkins and rocks are all common culprits. If your car does get pummeled by a pumpkin, your car insurance may come to the rescue — if you have the right coverage.
Comprehensive insurance will pay to repair damage from vandalism, minus any deductible. Should bad luck strike, make sure you file a police report and take pictures of the damage before filing a claim.
2. Your home gets egged
If your house gets toilet papered or egged by a group of goblins, try not to go all Mr. Hyde on them. Instead, take some photos and document the damage for your homeowners insurance. While some TP in the trees may not be costly enough to file a claim, eggs can cause serious paint damage that may need to be fixed. Typical homeowners insurance policies cover vandalism and will pay for the repairs.
3. Yard decorations disappear or cause injuries
Whether it’s your vintage lawn gnome or a life-size animatronic zombie, yard decor is vulnerable to Halloween thieves. Your homeowners, condo or renters insurance will usually cover stolen outdoor decorations as part of your personal property protection — as long as you’ve got receipts or photos for the claim.
Make sure to keep any Halloween decorations out of walkways, as they could cause injuries. But if a wobbly wraith does trip over your tombstone collection, your homeowners liability coverage will cover expenses due to accidental injuries.
4. Your jack-o’-lantern starts a fire
Halloween decorations have been known to cause house fires, often when placed close to a heat source. It’s safest to use battery-operated candles or glow sticks instead of a candle in your jack-o’-lantern, but if your decorations do catch fire, your homeowners insurance should cover the damage. And if you need to stay somewhere else while your home is being repaired, your living expenses should be covered too.
If you’re renting, your landlord’s policy will cover damage to the building’s structure, while your renters policy will cover any personal property that's damaged or destroyed, up to your coverage limits.
5. Your dog bites someone
Halloween can be a spooky night for us humans, but possibly even scarier for our canine friends. Endless doorbell ringing or loud noises in the neighborhood could excite some pups enough to run off and bite a stranger.
Rest assured, dog bites are usually covered by homeowners or renters liability insurance. If your dog’s breed is excluded, though, you’d have to pay out of pocket for injuries and legal expenses. Your best bet is to keep your dog somewhere safe and secure on Halloween night, away from strangers.
6. Your car gets broken into or stolen
Halloween is the third-worst holiday for car theft, according to 2018 data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. While there are steps you can take to prevent this — such as removing your keys from the ignition, locking the doors and parking in a garage or well-lit spot — you can rely on your comprehensive coverage (if you have it) if your car is broken into or stolen.
You’ll need a police report to file a car-theft claim, so contact the police first, then your insurer, and then your leasing or finance company, if applicable. And if anything valuable was inside, your homeowners or renters personal property coverage can cover it — although a deductible applies, so a small claim may not be worth the hassle.
7. Pedestrians act unpredictably
Halloween is often deadly for pedestrians. Kids roaming the streets and drunk driving contribute to an increased chance of accidents. Play it safe on Halloween night by staying in, and drive with caution if you do have to go out. Should you happen to hit someone, your bodily injury liability coverage will cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.