Happy Halloween – from your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

What does your Homeowner’s Insurance policy have to do with having a Happy Halloween?  Quite a bit.  When you turn on your lamppost and open your door to pass out candy and treats, you’re inviting more people onto your property in one night than probably cross your threshold in an entire year.

How your Homeowner’s Insurance policy works: 

You could be held responsible if someone were to become injured on your property.  The personal/premises liability portion of your homeowner’s insurance policy is designed to protect you in the event of a lawsuit arising out of an injury occurring on your premises.  The Medical Payments portion of your homeowner’s policy also might come into play.  The Medical Payment portion is your “I want to be nice and help pay for my neighbor’s injury” portion.  Medical Payments coverage is usually anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 of coverage for emergency medical treatment or an ambulance.  It’s important to note that:

1.      The Personal/Premises liability portion of your Homeowner’s Insurance policy only applies when a lawsuit has been filed against you.

2.      Medical Payments portion of your Homeowner’s Insurance policy can be paid out by the insurance company for emergency medical treatment or an ambulance for someone OTHER THAN A RESIDENT RELATIVE who is injured on your premises.  No lawsuit is necessary to trigger this coverage.

photo courtesy of h-eich.com, interior and landscape design

photo courtesy of h-eich.com, interior and landscape design

 

5 Steps to protect yourself this Halloween 

  1. Don’t leave your pet in the yard or allow them access to the front door on Halloween night.  Even the gentlest of pets, particularly dogs, can become anxious or feel that you are being threatened by people in scary costumes.  They become protective of you.  Animals in “protect my people” mode do not act like they normally would.  Keep them securely in another part of the house.
  2. Candle flames.  We all love Jack-o-lanterns on the front porch or lining the front walk.  And they look more authentic with real candles burning in them.  However, children wearing flowing costumes, wearing wigs, wearing lots of hairspray – and intent on getting candy – may not be aware of the danger they present.  Keep candles and Jack-o-lanterns placed well back from the main walkway.  The front porch and the area around the front door is the place most likely to become crowded at times.  Keep candles and Jack-o-lanterns away from this particular area.
  3. Pranks.  THINK IT THROUGH.  If someone could get hurt on your property due to a scary prank pulled by you (or your children/teenagers) – don’t risk it.
  4. Do not invite unknown children into your home unless they are accompanied by their parentEver.  Period.  You do not want to even leave the possibility of a parent accusing you of doing something to one of their children.  Even the most innocent and well-meaning people are at risk for accusations, whether they are true or false.  And it doesn’t have to be true to end up in court.
  5. Clean up.  Make sure the route to your front door is clear and free from debris: fallen tree limbs, walnuts (they can turn an ankle faster than just about anything else), trash, your kid’s bicycles, skateboards and toys.  And if this Halloween is anything like last year in the Northeast, make sure the path is clear of snow and ice as well.  $5 worth of ice melt could save you thousands of dollars.

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