Halloween is a fun time for children and adults alike. Ghouls, goblins, ghosts, fairy princesses, and super heroes are all out to play! It’s difficult to imagine the innocent, exciting, and much-anticipated night of Halloween turning into a dreaded homeowner's insurance claim. While rare, homeowner's insurance claims are something to be cautious of during this peak time of activity. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you prepare yourself for the friendly faces that are sure to come knocking for candy tomorrow evening!
While data wasn’t easily located for a United States stastistic regarding homeowner's insurance on Halloween, an article from the UK cited that home insurance claims spike by 270% on Halloween! Another report claims that 3.6 million homeowners will have property damage caused by Halloween reveler's pranks. That damage may include broken windows and damage to paint from broken eggs. That’s as scary as any Friday the 13th movie!
Whether it be a child slipping and falling as they walk up to your front door to trick-or-treat, a few teenagers mistakenly breaking a window during an egging, or a dog becoming a bit nervous during the festivities and nipping a child, there are many hidden dangers to this traditional holiday that none of us want to think about. Lucky for us, a little preparation can go along way to make your home and family safer.
Light the night: One of the oldest “tricks” in the book is to leave your light on if you want trick-or-treaters, and turn it off if you don’t. But a dark stoop could be an invitation for a trip and fall. If you prefer not to have youngsters asking for candy, consider putting up a sign that says “no trick or treat” that will allow you to keep your lights on, too. If you have a long driveway or walkway, turn on all the outdoor lights you have to better light the path to your front door.
Clear the way: It makes sense to make sure your walkway is cleared of all debris, but remember back to your childhood and how many times you cut through a neighbor’s yard instead of using the pathway. Blow or rake the leaves and sticks off your yard, fill in any holes, and skip a day of lawn watering so that your yard is not wet, muddy and overly slippery. Keep in mind how children might access your front porch when putting up Halloween decorations, especially those that involve power cords. Along these lines, take a few moments to repair loose porch railings, and repair any loose walkway stones.
Remove Rover: As much as our dogs and cats are part of the family, extra guests can make pets nervous, especially with many ghosts and goblins ringing the doorbell. A nervous pet may dart outside resulting in a lost dog or a hurt child. Instead, give them their own safe place during trick-or-treating and confine them to a room with food and water. It will make for an easier night for the whole family, furbabies included.
Safety first: Make sure Halloween decorations, like the highly flammable cornstalks and crepe paper, are a safe distance from open flames, such as candles during this spooky holiday. Consider replacing real candles, both inside and outside of your home, with LED tea lights or string lights. If you do, make sure that those lights have been tested by a recognized lab and that they are in good working order. Just in case, it’s not a bad idea to check the batteries in your smoke detector, too.
Be on the lookout: You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating. As you are coming home, or even leaving your home for the night, be sure to be extra vigilant while watching for children who may be darting in and out of parked cars. Keep in mind, they may be in dark clothing, too.
Host responsibly: Be sure if you serve alcohol at your adult Halloween parties that your guests have designated drivers. It varies by state, but claims can arise if a homeowner allows a guest to drive home after serving them alcohol. And, never serve alcohol to anyone under 21. Have fun and be smart!
This is also a great time to make a call to check on your homeowners’ coverage and ensure that you have adequate coverage in case the unforeseen happens, even through no fault of your own. It may be wise to stock up on good candy bars, too, in hopes of avoiding those tricks this Halloween!
On behalf of the Eastwood family, we wish you and your families a safe, and fun, Halloween!