My guess is you’ve absolutely never considered doing what the title of this post suggests. Checking your insurance coverage before Halloween. If you have, you’re most likely in the minority. But since we have a few more days until little superheroes and princesses come knocking on your door and yelling “Trick or Treat”, you still have some time to check your coverage.
Of course, this coverage check has less to do with well-meaning and cute children, than it does with the pranksters that go looking for possible targets this week. AAA is an independent insurance agency, they write policies for a number of different carriers, and choose plans for customers based on the best price for the customer.
Given their expertise, AAA Ohio shared these interesting stats:
Your car is nearly twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween, compared to a normal day according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. Between 2008 and 2012, the average number of claims on Halloween was more than 1,200. On an average day, there are almost 700 claims.
What can you do ahead of time? Try to park your car in the garage that night. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage can cover repair costs– but make sure you have it!
Ohio is 1 of 37 states with host liability laws. That means those who serve up booze can be held liable for injuries or deaths that happen because of an intoxicated guest at your Halloween party.
“Fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes increase nearly 50 percent when Halloween falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday and nearly 40 percent of all fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver,” spokesperson Kimberly Schwind told me.
“With Halloween on a Saturday this year, drunk driving is bound to be a major safety risk on the roads.”
The Ohio Department of Public Safety reports there were 61 crashes that involved alcohol on Halloween in 2014. In 24 of those crashes, someone was hurt.
What can you do ahead of time? Homeowners insurance policies may cover this area, but you’ll want to check. And in general, avoid the concern at all by watching how much guests are drinking and making sure that no one gets into their car and drives home drunk. Have taxi numbers available and a place for guests to leave their keys.
Here is some other food for thought, before you break out the candy:
If someone falls at your house while they’re running up your front walkway in a costume, your homeowners insurance could cover the medical expenses. It may also cover any liability for the child’s injuries, in case their parents threaten legal action.
If one of those ghouls or goblins kncoks over one of your lit jack-o-lanterns and causes a fire at your house, your policy will cover the cost of the damage. But, an updated home inventory will probably get that insurance claim settled more quickly. It also helps you see if you have the right amount of insurance to cover that type of situation.
“This can be a list, photos, video or a combination of all of these,” Schwind shared with me.
“According to the Insurance Information Institute, only about half of homeowners polled during the past eight years said they’ve prepared a home inventory of their possessions.”
Time to get that done, folks.. including myself.
Again, you may not have considered any of this before– but it’s a smart call to make the phone call to your insurance agent before neighborhoods are filled with costumes, kids, and parties in the days ahead this week. Schwind says a quick change, will cover you automatically!
“Don’t worry if you wait until the last minute. Policy changes typically take effect the day you make them, unless you specify otherwise. Just don’t wait until after an incident occurs to make the change. Then, you won’t be covered for that claim.”
Be smart, be safe!