Don't Get Tricked: 6 Reasons You Need Car Insurance (and Candy) on Halloween
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Candy is great on Halloween but the right car insurance is even better if you get into an accident. With trick-or-treaters on the streets and drunk partygoers behind the wheel, the likelihood of getting into an accident goes up on this spooky holiday.
Fortunately, Halloween car insurance can provide financial protection for collisions and mischief like vandalism and theft. You’ll thank yourself for having the right level of auto insurance coverage if your Halloween is more trick than treat.
Why Do You Need Car Insurance on Halloween?
Your chances of getting into an accident on Halloween increase due to the presence of more pedestrians and drunk drivers. Your car is vulnerable to theft and vandalism on this night of mischief, as well. Full coverage — your state’s insurance requirements plus collision and comprehensive coverage — will protect you in most accidents and from most types of Halloween trickery.
1. Kids and Pedestrians
With more children on the street on Halloween, the chances of accidentally striking a pedestrian increases — especially if it’s dark. One study found that children ages four to eight were 10 times more likely to be killed by a motor vehicle on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The same study also showed that most child pedestrian deaths happened within residential neighborhoods.
Not all children are supervised and some may wear costumes that obstruct their vision or blend into the night. They may also cross the street thinking it’s clear when there is a car approaching. Ideally, you should avoid driving at night when visibility is limited. If you can’t avoid it, maintain a lower speed when driving through neighborhoods and be extra vigilant for pedestrians.
Are you covered? If you accidentally strike a pedestrian with your car, liability insurance will cover them for their injuries and property damages. If there was any damage to your car after the accident, collision coverage will pay for your repairs.
2. Drunk Drivers
There were 56 fatal drunk-driving crashes on Halloween in 2020 alone according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For some people, just one drink is enough to significantly hamper driving capabilities.
Your insurance carrier will pay for accidents caused by your drunk driving but your insurance premiums will likely skyrocket. Beyond higher premiums, a DUI can also cost you thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work and more.
Are you covered? If a drunk driver hits you, they will likely be held liable and their liability coverage should cover your losses. If they are uninsured, then the following Halloween insurance for your car would cover you:
- Collision: Pays for your property damages
- Medical payments/Personal injury protection (Medpay/PIP): Pays for your medical bills if you are injured
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage: Pays for your property damages and medical expenses if the other driver is uninsured or does not have enough coverage. UM/UIM coverage may not be necessary if you have collision and Medpay/PIP coverage
3. Car Theft
The number of car thefts spiked during Halloween in four of five years analyzed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Halloween is a holiday of pranks, mischief and for some, ingesting substances that lead to reckless behavior. Amidst the Halloween trickery, your car may be the unlikely target of theft.
Are you covered? Comprehensive insurance will cover theft and it’s not able to be recovered, your car insurance will pay you the actual cash value of your vehicle, which accounts for depreciation factors like age, mileage and wear and tear. Contents inside the car are covered by renters or homeowners insurance.
4. Tricks and Pranks on Vehicles
According to the most recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, personal vehicles are nearly twice as likely to be more vandalized on Halloween than any other day of the year. In addition, the U.S. Fire Administration found that over three years, about 9,200 fires were reported in U.S. over a three-day period around Halloween, with 16.4% of those fires involving vehicles.
As a result you should be watchful for both harmless pranks by your friends or criminals with malicious intent, such as:
- Toilet papering
- Smashing windows
- Flipping your car
Does insurance cover sugar in your gas tank? If you have comprehensive insurance, then your auto policy should cover you if a pranker spikes your gasoline with sugar. It should also cover losses related to any of the Halloween pranks listed above.
5. Halloween Decorations
Halloween decor displayed in your neighbors’ front yards or roofs may be poorly anchored and a strong gust can easily dislodge it with your car in its fall trajectory, causing damage.
Are you covered? Damages to your vehicle due to another person’s Halloween decor will likely be covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy. Alternatively, it may be possible to file a claim against the homeowner’s home insurance company. On the other hand, if you drive over somebody else’s jack-o-lantern, then your liability insurance should pay for their damages.
6. Cars With Costumes
For extra festivity, some people put costumes and Halloween accessories on their cars — just be careful that the decorations do not impede driving for yourself or drivers around you. Also, secure the costume well because it may cause scratches or dents to your car or fly off your car entirely and hit a pedestrian or car.
Are you covered? Damages to your car by the car costume may be covered under collision coverage — double-check with your provider. However, if the damages are minor, then it may not be a car insurance claim worth filing as you will be risking a premium increase down the line. If the costume injures or causes property damage to someone else, your liability insurance will apply.
How To Protect Your Car and Others When Driving This Halloween
The best type of auto insurance claim is one you don’t have to file. On Halloween, practice these fall driving safety tips to keep the streets safer for everybody.
- Drive slowly through neighborhoods: Reducing your speed gives you enough time to safely stop when a trick-or-treater darts across the street.
- Avoid driving during peak treat-or-treating hours: Trick-or-treating typically occurs from sunset to around 9:00 pm. However, stay vigilant because some children will stay out past curfew.
- Park your car inside a garage or behind a gate: Reducing access to your car can help deter car thieves.
- Triple-check when pulling in and out of driveways: Small children playing and running can be hard to spot. Check your mirrors and over your shoulder at least three times before pulling in and out of driveways.
- Turn down your radio volume: Loud music can be distracting and can drown out noises that could signal potential accidents. For example, hearing children laughing should automatically signal you to reduce your speed and increase your vigilance.
- Avoid eating candy while driving: Unwrapping candy wrappers while driving takes your hands off the wheel and can reduce your reaction time. Save the sweets for when you’re safely parked or at home.
- Do not let your costume interfere with your driving: Masks can reduce your visibility, long sleeves can interfere with your grasp on the steering wheel and a big wizard’s hat may obstruct your ability to turn your neck. Either take off accessories that impede your driving or arrange for somebody else to drive.
- Activate your hazard lights when picking up and dropping off people: Your hazard lights will alert the driver behind you to be careful because pedestrians are present.
- Ensure your insurance coverage is up-to-date: Statistics have already shown that instances of vandalism can spike around Halloween. As a result, when renewing your auto insurance policy for the latter portion of the year, you may want to look into increasing your comprehensive coverage limits just in case.
What Type of Coverage Do I Need for Halloween-Related Claims?
Liability insurance is mandated in most states and will cover you if you can be held responsible for another person’s injuries or property damages. Below, we highlight how core types of auto insurance work, as well as optional add-ons that might be worth having on Halloween.
Pays for medical costs if you cause injury to another person
You strike a trick-or-treater with your car
Property Damage Liability
Pays when you are liable for another person’s property damages
You strike a mailbox while driving through the neighborhood
Pays for damages to your car, regardless of which driver was at fault
Your car was dented after backing into your gate
Pays for non-collision damages, such as damage from hail, falling objects, vandalism, theft and fire
Your car was stolen while you stayed home watching scary movies
Covers your injuries and property damages when the other driver has zero or insufficient coverage
A drunk driver crashes into your car but doesn’t have car insurance
Pays for you and your passengers’ medical costs, regardless of who was at fault
You drive into a tree and injure your hip
Personal Injury Protection (required in some no-fault states only)
Pays for you and your passengers’ medical costs, regardless of who was at fault
A speeding driver runs a red light, striking you and causing you a neck injury
Covers roadside emergency services such as tows, jumpstarts, fuel delivery and more
You bought some candy at the grocery store but your car won’t start and you need a jumpstart in the parking lot
Pays for the cost of a rental car if your car is totaled or undrivable
You get into a car accident and need a temporary car to commute while your vehicle is in the repair shop
How To File a Halloween Car Insurance Claim
If you get into an accident on Halloween, follow these steps to file a car insurance claim with your carrier.
- Check for injuries: If anyone is injured, notify the police immediately and refrain from moving the injured party. If everybody is safe, activate your hazard lights and safely pull over to a safe spot.
- Exchange information with the involved party: Obtain the contact information of the other person and eyewitnesses. If the accident involved another driver, obtain their car insurance information.
- Document the accident: Take pictures of property damages and injuries that you or the other party suffered. Don’t forget to snap photos of where the accident occurred and the road and weather conditions. If you notified the police, get their name and badge number and ask how to obtain a copy of the police report.
- Contact your insurance company: Your insurer will walk you through the insurance claims process and instruct how you can upload the documentation gathered in the prior step. If anyone was injured, they may request copies of the medical bills.
- Get your car repaired: If you experienced damage to your car, you can complete repairs from an approved repair facility or one of your choosing.
- Report the accident to the DMV: Some states require you to report the accident to the DMV if the accident involved significant property damages or any injuries. Double-check with your state DMV.