Halloween can be fun for the young and young at heart, but it can also be a bit scary if you’re unprepared for the potential hazards due to an influx of visiting vampires, ghosts, and Disney characters.
Do you know if you’re properly covered by your homeowners’ insurance company?
The average consumers don’t read every paragraph of their homeowners’ insurance policies when they’re first issued — and are even less likely to pull the policy off the shelf, dig through old emails or log in to find it online. Unfortunately, this means that many are unaware of the potential issues faced by homeowners when scary little visitors come calling.
We’ve compiled five simple questions to ask yourself or your agent this October to make sure you’re covered for any unexpected tricks.
1. Does a homeowners’ insurance policy cover vandalism to my property?
Generally, a homeowners’ insurance policy will cover vandalism to a home; however, the damage would need to be significant to rise to the level of filing an insurance claim. The homeowner must pay out of pocket for the amount of the deductible — the insurance carrier would pay the remaining portion of the claim. For example, if the cost of the damage is less than or equal to the amount of the deductible, then filing an insurance claim wouldn’t be worth it.
Tip: Park your car in your garage or lock it. Don’t risk being a target of rambunctious teenagers!
2. Does homeowners’ insurance cover dog bites?
With the onset of visitors and doorbells ringing, this may cause some pets to be provoked by the unusual Halloween customs. If your pet does bite a trick-or-treater, Coverage E Personal Liability and Coverage F Medical Payments to Others would cover the situation. Check the policy and with the agent to confirm coverage, as some insurance policies and state regulations vary and may not cover certain situations or certain breeds of dogs.
Tip: Place the pet in a crate or room while the trick-or-treaters are visiting so that the pet is not provoked.
3. Does my homeowners’ insurance policy cover a slip and fall accident?
A slip and fall injury will usually be covered by Coverage E of the personal liability portion of a homeowners’ insurance policy and Coverage F, medical payments to others section. This coverage extends to those visitors who do not live at the insured’s property but are accidentally injured while on the property, resulting in liability and medical bills. Many may want to look at umbrella insurance to extend liability protection.
Tip: Keep driveways and pathways lit and clear of hazards and debris to avoid little monsters tripping.
4. Does my homeowners’ insurance policy cover candle fires?
A standard homeowners’ insurance policy covers accidental fires under its covered perils section. As a result, fires caused by lit candles are usually covered. During a busy Halloween season, the best practice is not to light candles or leave them unattended.
Tip: Avoid potential fires by using battery or LED pumpkin lights for creative Jack O’ Lanterns this Halloween season.
5. How do I know if I’m underinsured?
Don’t be caught underinsured on your policy. Many policies contain a clause stating that an insurance company will not fully cover damage to a home unless the policy covers 80% or more of the home’s total replacement value. As a result, if the homeowner has inadequate coverage (usually less than 80% the home’s replacement value), then the homeowner may only receive a proportionate amount of coverage on a claim.
Tip: Avoid getting spooked this Halloween season with underpaid claims. Talk to your agent about whether you’re adequately insured.