A 101 on Halloween Safety
A 101 on Halloween Safety & Property/Injury Damage Claims
While some visitors to your home come the evening of the 31st will be eager for treats and fun scares, others might be looking to wreak havoc. The unfortunate reality of Halloween is that there is nearly a 50% chance of vandalism claims in relation to all other days of the year, arising from things like smashed windows and broken doors. Moreover, Halloween is high time for injury liability claims, especially for young trick-or-treaters who might trip and fall on their way up your driveway, or Fido gets loose from the backyard and bites someone.
So, when Manitobans are preparing to carve up the pumpkins and throw up the decorations, they should also be thinking of secure places to park their vehicles, how to protect their properties, and frankly, whether to leave the lights on or not.
At Guild Insurance Group, we do right by the challenges that our consumers face when searching for insurance coverage and risk management solutions. Our team is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding property damage claims, liability injury claims, property insurance coverage, and more.
Read on for a 101 on Halloween safety and mitigating liability and property damage claims.
Liability Hazards: Decorations, Driveways, and Pets
Decorations are a hazard to anyone walking up your lawn or driveway to your home. Pointed fences, glowing pumpkins, or gravestones could be a tripping hazard. A guest could hurt themselves on an extension cord. Be mindful when setting up your decorations, as these are the thing that easily pose the highest possible risk of injury – especially to giddy children.
Driveways are another, but a not-so-obvious hazard. If you or anyone living in your house plans to drive anywhere that evening, be sure to be mindful of kids near your driveway or on public sidewalks. Moreover, in Manitoba, you never know when it might snow, and we’ve had many white Halloweens in the past. Be sure your driveway is shovelled and clear for guests.
Pets are a significant liability hazard, even if Fido’s never bitten anyone in his life. See, having a bunch of kids every 10-30 minutes come to your door and ring can be stressful for a pet, and dog bites have resulted in lawsuits of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Keep your dog tucked away somewhere safe with a calm, relaxing ambience or have a friend/family member take them somewhere that they won’t feel so wound up.
Property Hazards: Fire Damage
The Jack-o’-lantern has a long and surprisingly fruitful history. In fact, it never used to be a pumpkin: it was a turnip with an ember inside. A lot of homeowners nowadays light the inside of their pumpkins with real flames but putting an unattended flame inside a flammable vegetable (or fruit?) is a recipe for
disaster. Not only that, but homeowners tend to surround their pumpkin decorations with paper decorations and things that, again, can catch fire easily!
Accidental fires are insurable under a property insurance policy, but it’s still a lot to have to deal with – not to mention incredibly dangerous to your loved ones and those living at home. If you’re planting to decorate your front steps with a jack-‘o-lantern, you’re better off using a battery-operated candle or a glow stick to mitigate the fire risk.
Property Hazards: Vandalism Damage
Halloween is the night of treats, but for many, it’s also the night of tricks. Children, teens, and young adults alike find Halloween the ideal night to hit the town and cause some serious havoc. Alcohol often plays a part in these incidents, and historically these vandalism events can range anywhere from a TP’ed home to a full-blown fire, like this one school in southeast Vancouver.
While many pranks pulled on Halloween night tend to be mostly harmless, it’s also a time when insurance companies experience an increase in property insurance claims. How do we mitigate this risk? Well, not partaking in Halloween is one way. If you’re overly concerned about vandalism, turn your lights off! That being said, that’s not always ideal for everyone.
Discuss with your insurance broker about vandalism as part of your property insurance policy. You’ll likely need a mix of policies to cover your home and car. And, speaking of your car, damaged vehicles tend to make up a considerable percentage of those property damage claims, so be proactive and park your vehicle somewhere secure during Halloween!
Halloween is just one night out of the year, but the risk of an accident is much higher than you’d expect. On an average day, you might not have anyone come to your home – or just one or two friends/guests. On Halloween night, dozens of, if not hundreds, children are coming to your door, with or without parents, and marching right up to your front step. On top of that, teens and young adults are having their Halloween parties the same evening, and an adolescent brain combined with liquor is rarely a good equation for any of the surrounding homes and neighbourhoods.
Play it safe. Get insured. Do a once-over of your home the night before or when the kids start coming out to trick-or-treat and ensure that none of your decorations pose a hazard to third parties, make sure your pet is secure somewhere safe, and park your car safely! If you are concerned about not having enough insurance prior to the big event, call up your insurance broker to review.