Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo
Halloween: Know what's covered, prepare your home to avoid costly nightmares
- Homeowners and Renters Insurance cover damage caused by neighborhood tricksters and vandals as well as damage caused by Halloween decorations catching fire.
- Injuries to guests on your property are covered under the Liability portion of your Homeowners Insurance policy.
- Homeowners can take steps to ensure that their homes are safe for their family, guests, and trick-or-treaters during Halloween.
SEATTLE, October 27, 2016 – Halloween festivities are sure to bring plenty of chills and thrills (hopefully not the lurking creepy clown variety) and parties over the weekend. However, the fun could quickly turn into a nightmare if you don't carefully plan and keep safety in mind.
Candles, frightened pets and wet or poorly maintained walkways all can prove dangerous for your family and trick-or-treaters. Also, if you’re planning to host an adults-only Halloween party this weekend that includes alcohol, you could be liable for the safety of your guests – even after they leave the party.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over half of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.
“Protecting yourself, your family and guests starts with making sure you have Homeowners or Renters Insurance with sufficient limits of liability to protect your financial assets,” said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president. “Homeowners should also take steps to ensure that their homes are safe for residents and visitors.”
Injuries to guests on your property are covered under the Liability portion of your Homeowners Insurance policy. Most homeowners’ policies start with liability limits of $100,000. But regardless of the season, you may want to consider purchasing at least $300,000 worth of Personal Liability protection and adding an Umbrella Policy to protect your family’s assets.
Your policy also provides “no-fault” Medical Payments to Others coverage. In the event a visitor is injured in or around your home, he or she can submit medical bills to your insurance company up to the limit you’ve chosen – generally from $1,000 to $5,000. This allows payment of smaller medical expenses without needing to file a liability claim.
(Note: both Medical and Liability coverage only apply to guests and do not pay medical bills for you, your family or your pets.)
Homeowners and Renters Insurance also cover damage caused by neighborhood tricksters and vandals as well as damage caused by Halloween decorations catching fire. If the fire damage makes your home uninhabitable, additional living expenses for temporary accommodations, such as a hotel, will be covered while your home is being repaired.
NW Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute offer these common-sense tips to help you avoid the negligence ghouls and safeguard your family, home, guests and trick-or-treaters this Halloween:
- Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. Encourage guests to pick a designated driver so that he or she can drive other guests home.
- Ensure safe walkways by raking or sweeping leaves and other debris away from porches, decks, sidewalks and driveways. Remove all objects around the outside of your house that could cause children to trip or fall.
- Turn on your outside light so trick-or-treaters know they can visit your home.
- Trim low-hanging branches over walkways.
- Keep walkways well lit.
- Keep pets away from approaching trick-or-treaters. Some pets may get excited or hostile when encountering children dressed in costumes.
- Keep candles and jack-o-lanterns away from all combustible and heat-sensitive items. Make sure they are displayed on stable surfaces and out of reach of children and pets. Extinguish candles before leaving a room.
- If you are driving on Halloween, remember to drive slowly and be extra cautious on neighborhood streets – candy-fueled trick-or-treaters can be very distracted pedestrians!
For more information about your Homeowners Insurance policy or your liability limits, contact your insurance company or agent. For more information about how to protect your family and home, call NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 and ask for a brochure called Your Guide to Insurance.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education and public policy organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.