Halloween

Can Your Insurance Coverage Brave Halloween’s Hauntings?

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Scrumptious confections in orange- and black-hued packaging now line store shelves and witchy lawn ornaments are beginning to make their annual appearances in many neighborhoods. But before you plan the perfect costume, make celebrating safely a priority.
 
More than ghosts, ghouls and goblins combined, having to file a home or auto insurance claim can be one of the scariest things that can happen on the holiday. However, by following these tips, you could help keep mishaps to a minimum.
 

Be wary of eerie illumination

 
Pumpkins carved into sinister or silly faces are one of Halloween’s trademark symbols. But while these glowing gourds look great on your doorstep, they can be a hazard waiting to happen if lit by candle. Open flame fires caused by candles increase by 50 percent during the days surrounding Halloween, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
 
A goodie-gathering trick-or-treater accidentally knocking over your jack-o’-lantern will quickly sour your fun. Accidental fires are typically covered under most standard homeowners insurance policies, according to the Insurance Information Institute. But to be safe, choose a battery-operated faux candle to illuminate the night.
 

Pave the way for treats, not tricks

 
Passing out peanut butter cups and candy corn to the little Elsa or Spider-Man on your doorstep is a fun way to celebrate, but it can become a nightmare if they trip, fall and get hurt. And if unsafe conditions – such as an obstructed, dark driveway – cause the tumble, you could potentially be held liable for their injuries and face a lawsuit.
 
Seasonal décor – such as spooky skeletons and spiders – is great, as long as it doesn’t transform your driveway into an unexpected obstacle course. To help keep trick-or-treaters safe, make sure the path leading to your door is well-lit and hazard-free.
 

All bark, no bite

 
As much as you want to dress your furry friend in that adorable shark costume and show him off this Halloween, it might not be the best idea. Roughly 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the festivities surrounding Halloween can likely intensify these incidents. Even a friendly, mild-mannered pup may become frightened by a stranger in a mask and act out aggressively.
 
Although dog bites may be covered under the liability portion of your homeowners insurance, depending on your policy, take preventive measures to nip them in the bud. If you plan to host a party or open your door to trick-or-treaters on All Hallows’ Eve, keep Fido in another room or on a short leash by your side. It’s for his safety, too!
 

Don’t be spooked by a lack of coverage

 
Fires, falls and dog bites are just a few of the horrors that could turn your Halloween into a truly haunting affair. Twice as many vehicle vandalism incidents occur on Halloween as on an average day, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found. Villainous vandals are likely to target homes with their pranks on this frightful night as well.
 
Before Oct. 31 rolls around, contact your insurance provider. Make sure you have the coverage you want for your car and home, and ask if you should increase your coverage. Once you’ve done that, pull your life-size Frankenstein decoration out of storage – it’s almost Halloween.