Halloween Pumpkin

Halloween Pranks And Homeowner’s Insurance

By: Amy Woods, October 31, 2016

Eggs, shaving cream and toilet paper are a prankster’s most-prized weapons on Halloween. Not only are they pointed at cars, they also are pointed at houses.

They and other foolish ways to commit vandalism are coming soon to a neighborhood near you, like leaving a smoldering bag of dog poop by the front door or smashing a pumpkin into the bay window. The former can result in personal injury and the latter in structural damage. What if a child gets burned or trips and falls because of the flaming feces? Or what if shattered glass from a bright-orange missile has littered the living room? In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance will cover both incidents.

In cases of trips and falls, most policies include protection from someone injured on your property. With that being said, it’s not a bad idea to take extra precautions in making your home safe for trick-or-treaters. Here’s how:

  • Ensure Halloween decorations do not create obstacles in your walkway or yard.
  • While it might be tempting to turn out the lights for a spooky vibe, the better choice is to light the exterior, whether with regular bulbs or ones in green, orange or purple.
  • Keep your dog away from strangers. Dogs can become agitated from ringing doorbells and frequent visitors which could end up with them biting a friendly ghost.

The tradition of hollowing out pumpkins to make jack-o’-lanterns is fun for the family but also can lead to fires. In the event of one, it should be covered by your policy, but again it is prudent to prevent a fire from happening in the first place. Here’s a few ways to you can help to prevent fires:

  • Place jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains or drapery if inside and grass and shrubbery if outside.
  • Instead of using candles to illuminate them, use miniature flashlights or electric tea lights.
  • Opt to decorate or draw on your pumpkin instead of carving it and place it under a spotlight for display.

Though somewhat disturbing, grave destruction is also prevalent this time of year. In some instances, this may fall under the terms of your homeowner’s insurance. The same is true if someone steals a tombstone.

“Vandalism of cemeteries is an appalling crime, but the good news is that homeowner’s-insurance coverage may extend to family headstones,” an article on Nasdaq states. “Even if they’re located outside the policyholder’s property in a public cemetery, some homeowner’s policies put grave markers in the same category as belongings inside your home.”

Check the terms of your policy and read the fine print, especially in the days leading up to Oct. 31. Don’t let persistent pranks or preventable problems get the best of you.