Halloween Tricks and Homeowners Insurance

Standard homeowners insurance should cover you for several types of damages stemming from Halloween trickery, like vandalism, theft and fires. However, there are still steps you should take to protect your property and reduce your liability exposure, like clearing tripping hazards on your front yard, testing your security system and switching to flameless candles.

Keep reading to see what else you can do to prepare for Halloween and how homeowners insurance can cover you for various tricks and pranks pulled throughout the night.

Common Hazards and Damages Caused to Homes on Halloween

When you combine the prank holiday with increased substance use and reckless young adults, your property may be the target of vandalism, theft, fires and liability issues. On top of stocking up on candy for trick-or-treaters preparing, you should watch out for criminal activity throughout Halloween.

Vandalism

On Halloween, vandalism can take the form of harmless pranks, like throwing eggs and pumpkins or toilet papering. However, a poorly aimed toss of an egg can break a window. Homeowners should also be wary of intentional vandalism. Fortunately, homeowners insurance will cover damages caused by both intentional and unintentional acts of vandalism.

Theft

Theft accounts for a whopping 60% of crime-related property claims submitted on Halloween. Unfortunately, your property is vulnerable whether you’re away or inside your home.

Your house is an easier target for theft if the perpetrator thinks you're not home. While you're out at a Halloween party, your home may be targeted for burglary or vandalism.

You may still face theft and vandalism even if you’re staying inside. With more people walking the streets, the likelihood of somebody stealing your lawn ornaments or even your car goes up. In fact, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports an increase in auto thefts on Halloween.

Fires

A jack-o’-lantern illuminated with a wax candle looks festive but also poses a fire risk. An innocent trick-or-treater may accidentally knock over your jack-o’-lantern and that candle could spread fire to its dry leaves and, eventually, your home. Using a battery-operated candle is a safer and more sustainable solution to keeping those jack-o’-lanterns glowing.

Liability

The increased traffic to your home’s doorstep creates more opportunities for accidents to happen, like trick-or-treaters tripping over electrical cords or Halloween decor. Homeowners should take extra steps in clearing tripping hazards and ensuring all walkways are well-lit to avoid accidental injuries.

Fortunately, homeowners insurance will cover damages caused by both intentional and unintentional acts of vandalism.

What Type of Coverage Is Best for Your Home on Halloween?

A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover you for damages on Halloween related to vandalism, theft and fire plus liability expenses. Here’s how coverages work in a standard policy:

Coverage

Description

Example Scenario

Dwelling

Covers the physical structure of your home

Somebody throws a pumpkin through your window

Other Structures

Covers other structures, such as a shed or detached garage

Somebody vandalizes your shed and steals its contents

Personal Property

Covers your personal belongings, such as clothes or electronics

Your home was burglarized while you were trick-or-treating with your family

Liability

Covers liability expenses when you’re held responsible for another person’s injuries or property damages

Somebody trips over gravestone decorations placed on your front yard and needs stitches

Additional Living Expenses

Pays for approved living expenses if your home is temporarily uninhabitable

Pays for hotel fare and meals while your home is undergoing repairs after your house caught fire from a prank

Auto insurance will pay for auto-related losses on Halloween. If your car is stolen or vandalized during Halloween, you will need comprehensive coverage to be reimbursed for your loss. If you have liability-only coverage, then you will have to pay for your losses out of pocket.

Homeowners liability coverage will cover a trick or treater for damaged property and any injuries they may sustain while on your property.

What Happens if a Trick-Or-Treater Gets Hurt on My Property?

The bodily injury liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy will cover a trick-or-treater if they are hurt while on your property. For example, your insurer will pay for the other person’s medical expenses if they break an ankle after tripping over an electric cord powering your Halloween display.

A standard home policy will also provide coverage if you’re held liable for another person’s property damages and injuries. For example, say a mom brings her child to your doorstep but accidentally drops her phone after a Halloween decoration falls on her. Liability coverage will reimburse the mom for her damaged phone plus any injuries she sustained.

Warning: You can expect higher insurance rates after filing a claim.

Get The Right Coverage for Your Home

How To Protect Your Home From Tricksters on Halloween

Use the following tips to protect your property from accidents, Halloween pranks and malicious behavior:

Park Your Car in the Garage or Behind a Gate

A locked gate or garage door can be a simple deterrent for auto theft — the less access they have to your car, the better. If you don’t have a garage or gate, consider investing in a wheel chock lock and steering wheel lock to protect your car from theft.

Keep Your Yard Clear and Well-Lit

Clutter in your yard and walkway creates tripping hazards. If you are decorating your yard, make sure pathways are clear and well-lit. Also, keep your yard clear of any leaves, hoses and rocks.

Fortify Your Mailbox

Your mailbox can fall victim to drunk drivers losing control of their vehicle or even vandals in cars swinging at mailboxes with baseball bats as they drive through the street.  Fortunately, homeowners insurance will most likely cover your mailbox damages, but double-check with your insurance carrier if you have a free-standing mailbox located adjacent to your property line. To protect your mail and small packages, consider building a protective guard rail around your mailbox.

Treat Visitors Kindly

Trick-or-treaters may retaliate against your home and property if you treat them unkindly. A friendly attitude, generous candy handouts and costume compliments can help build a friendly rapport with visitors and prevent retaliatory behavior. As Aesop's story The Lion and the Mouse teaches us, no act of kindness is ever wasted.

Turn Off Your Main Lights and Shut Your Curtains

Shutting off your lights and closing your curtains tells visitors your home is not open for Halloween business. Having fewer people visit your property lowers the likelihood of accidental injuries and subsequent liability claims.

Keep Watch With Your Neighbors

One of the best defenses you have against burglars and vandals is your neighbors. Introduce yourself to the people on your street and agree to alert each other of suspicious activity.

Use Flameless Candles

A jack-o’-lantern paired with the heat of a real candle releases a wonderful pumpkin scent but can also increase the risk of fire. Left unattended, a candle can tip and spark a fire in its surroundings. Switching to electronic candles mimics the warm glow, minus the burning hazard.

A jack-o’-lantern illuminated with a wax candle looks festive but also poses a fire risk to your home.

Install Doorbell or Security Cameras

Installing cameras and other security devices on your property can act as a deterrent against vandals and thieves. Halloween visitors with nefarious intentions may be more hesitant after realizing they’re on camera. If you file an insurance claim and notify the police, you can supply the camera footage to prove when and how the crime happened.

Secure Your Doors and Windows

Ghouls and ghosts can probably slip through secured doors and windows but thieves and vandals can’t. Even if a thief attempts to pick the lock, they may give up if the extra time and effort outweigh the potential benefit. Installing motion-sensing lights around your home’s entry points can create a deterrent to burglaries, as well.

How To File a Halloween Home Insurance Claim

Follow these simple steps to file an insurance claim if your property is damaged or stolen this Halloween:

  1. File a police report, if needed: Police reports give validity to your claim when reporting to the insurance company. Make sure you document the name and badge number of the police officers and ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report — you will need to supply this to your insurer when filing a claim.
  2. Document your losses: Take pictures of damages to your property in good lighting and from multiple angles. If you have a home inventory with receipts that prove the lost items’ values, you can submit copies to your insurance company. If anyone is injured, take pictures of the injuries and get the injured person’s contact information.
  3. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible: Depending on your insurance company, you can submit a claim via mobile app, online portal or calling an insurance agent. Be ready to provide your policy number and documentation of the crime. Your agent will explain the claims process, requirements and whether the claim will exceed your deductible.
  4. Accept the settlement: After negotiating the settlement, you can use the check to replace your damaged property. If there were damages to your home, such as a burned wall or broken window, you should compare quotes from at least three contractors to determine a fair price for the repair work. Once you find a reputable contractor, you can schedule when to begin the repairs.

Theft accounts for a whopping 60% of crime-related property claims submitted on Halloween.

Halloween Homeowners Insurance FAQs

Is it common for homes to be vandalized on Halloween?

Crime-related claims related to vandalism increase during Halloween according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Are there more car break-ins on Halloween?

The number of auto thefts committed on Halloween is higher than the daily average for four of five years analyzed by the National Crime Insurance Bureau.

Which decorations can cause damage to your home on Halloween?

Halloween decorations that feature corn stalks, crepe paper, dried flowers or other highly flammable material should be kept away from heat sources. Also, refrain from plugging too much electrical decor into the same power strip or you can risk an electrical fire. Candles are also a fire risk.

Key Takeaways

  • Halloween home insurance claims are typically filed due to vandalism, theft, fire and liability.
  • Your homeowners insurance should provide coverage for your home’s structure and personal property if your home is vandalized or burglarized.
  • The liability portion of your homeowners policy should provide you with financial protection if someone is injured on your property on Halloween.
  • If you alert the police of vandalism or theft, obtain a copy of the police report to submit to your insurance company when filing a claim.

Halloween can be a time of fun and hazards, so make sure you have the best coverage for your home. Enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to compare multiple companies and receive free home insurance quotes in minutes.

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