Halloween Safety Tips to Prevent a Haunting Insurance Claim
Wednesday, 19 October 2022
Halloween is really that first “fun” celebration following the end of summer after the kids go back to school and grown-ups return to a full schedule of balancing work and family responsibilities. On Halloween, we get to dress up, act silly, laugh, eat a ton of candy, and spend time with family, neighbours, and the community.
But beware! This spooky holiday could be the perfect potion that causes you to let your guard down and become an insurance statistic. To help you learn more about Halloween safety, we sat down with Syl, BIG’s Director of Personal Lines, to get some insider knowledge and safety tips for this spooktacular time of year.
What are some common insurance claims that occur during Halloween?
S: Many people might not realize that a lot can go wrong on Halloween. Although it’s an amusing and thrilling celebration, it is often associated with a drastic spike in insurance claims. These goosebump-inducing incidents are quite common during Halloween: theft, vandalism, fire, property damage, and injury. Let’s take a closer look:
Unfortunately, not everyone is just after candy on Halloween. We see a lot of home and vehicle break-ins and theft happen this time of year. More malicious criminals might target your car or home in advance, so be careful what you share on social media and learn how to prevent vehicle theft.
Vandalism is all-too-common on Halloween. Beyond the typical toilet-papering or egging prank, we often see graffiti or broken windows, which puts a major damper on the evening's festivities.
Fires are also a typical cause of claims during Halloween. People who use real candles for their jack-o-lanterns, place flammable decorations too close to heat sources, or have faulty electrical wiring increase their risk of a fire.
Third-Party Liability Claims
Liability claims can happen on your home insurance or auto insurance policies. This time of year, Halloween conditions create greater opportunities for things to go wrong. It’s dark. It’s cold. Pedestrians are not only more difficult to spot, but they also tend to be distracted by the excitement of the night. Consider these scenarios:
- Drivers can accidentally make an error that could injure someone or damage home property. Whether it’s an honest mistake or substance use that influenced the decision, the responsible driver could end up in a more serious lawsuit.
- Home pets can easily become overwhelmed by the number of new visitors and attack unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. If your dog injures a guest, you could end up being sued.
- While gravestones, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, and moody lighting create chills and thrills, they also pose a significant injury risk to any visitors entering your property.
- In Canada, we’ve seen snow on Halloween at times. If it’s a cold October evening, icy walkways could cause someone to slip, injure themselves, and then take you to court for it.
What are some important coverages to have on your insurance policies? How do they work?
S: You’re going to want to include comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance for sure. This coverage is designed to respond to claims for fire, theft, and vandalism.
Ensure you purchase a comprehensive homeowner policy that offers the best coverage and typically covers theft, vandalism, fire, and slip/fall incidents. We recommend taking Halloween safety precautions to avoid a claim in order to keep your insurance premium down. You don’t want to lose your claims-free discount if you can help it.
You should also consider increasing the liability coverage on your home and car insurance policies. Most policies start with $1 million, but we are finding it is more common for liability claims to exceed that amount nowadays. A BIG broker can easily increase your liability limit of $2 million for a minimal cost.
What’s the craziest claim you have ever heard of during Halloween?
S: Just recently, I heard about a claim where a disgruntled teenager (who was refused candy for being intoxicated) threw a pumpkin through a homeowner’s window. Luckily, no one was injured, and the claim payout amounted to the cost of replacing a broken window. I’m sure the teenager involved in the incident will remember the consequences of their actions for years to come.
What are your Halloween safety tips to prevent a haunting claim?
Here are Syl’s pro Halloween safety tips to keep you, your family, and your community safe this Spooktober.
- Clear your home’s pathways to prevent trick-or-treaters from slipping or falling
- Remove leaves, branches, and other obstacles, and secure any rickety railings
- Use salt, sand, or ice-melt on walkways and driveways in icy and snowy conditions
- Keep your property well-lit – keep your outdoor and indoor lights on
- Use battery-operated candles in your jack-o-lanterns to avoid a potential fire
- Secure any electrical cords for holiday lighting and make sure they are rated for outdoor use if you require it
- Have an up-to-date fire extinguisher to prevent fire damage
- Don’t invite trick-or-treaters inside your home
- Secure your pets in a safe area to avoid possible injuries
- If you won’t be home on Halloween night, lock and secure your doors, arm your home alarm system, and keep your home lit to deter thieves
- Be extra cautious when driving on Halloween night, especially on residential streets, to avoid hitting a pedestrian
- Arrange a safe ride home in advance if you plan to enjoy alcohol or other mind-altering substances.
Are you going to dress up for Halloween?
S: My daughter wants me to dress up as a ballerina – nothing would be scarier than me in a tutu!
After Syl shared his Halloween safety tips and explained more about the potential hazards this season, you might be curious about whether you have the right insurance coverage. A BIG broker would be happy to answer your questions and update your policy to better protect you and your family this Hallows Eve.