Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners

Halloween is a festive day that kids enjoy, because they get dressed up and get treats. However, for a homeowner — it could be an insurance claim waiting to happen.  Will you be hosting a party or inviting trick-or-treaters to your door? Opening your property to the public can leave you susceptible to insurance claims and lawsuits.
 
If you follow a few tips to ensure safety and protect your home from damages or liability, you can prevent the risk of a homeowners insurance claim spoiling the fun.

 

Here are some tidbits to get you started…..


Keep the Lights On

By having a well-lit home you will be sure that everyone, both visitors and trick-or-treaters, are able to see clearly after dark once they enter your property. Not only will you be protecting yourself from a liability claim, you will deter burglars from getting their hands on your secret stash of chocolate & diamonds.

Clear the Way –

While it may be funny to watch in the movies, having a child running from the house that a monster jumps out of (and that child not be your own), will likely result in having a liability claim filed against you should the child be injured. Get rid of lawn clutter. Especially at Halloween! Clear your lawn and walkways of toys, lawn ornaments, gardening equipment, etc. to help avoid a liability. 

Put Fido in the Kennel

Dogs and cats could jump on or even bite unfamiliar visitors — especially those in costume. For the safety of your guests as well as your pets, keep dogs and cats away from the front porch or open areas. Can you imagine poor little Tommy having to get stitches because Fido was scared of Spiderman? Tommy’s dreams of being a postman will forever be torn apart.

How Old Are You? –  

You are responsible for the safety of guests who will visit your home this Halloween.  Keep everyone the safest you can on your property and only serve non-alcoholic beverages to your older party guests; and, if you will be serving alcohol, be sure that you do not allow anyone who is under-age to drink it. Unless you look really good in horizontal stripes or plan to carry your prisoner costume into real life, just don’t do it! Want to know what the laws are for underage drinking in your home state? Click Here. There are actually eight different exceptions to the Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) of 21.

I Want Candy

Just like with alcohol consumption, you are responsible for what your guests and visitors consume. Only give trick-or-treaters commercially-packaged treats. Do you want to give out healthier treats? Try giving out small packs or raisins, small apples or mandarin oranges, fruit juice boxes, pretzels, or snack pack pudding. 

Assure Home Security

Getting away from the ghosts and goblins? Don’t forget to set your alarm system before you leave the house. Let your neighbors know you will be leaving, and turn on motion-sensor lights, so they can keep their eyes on the place. Just like Christmas, Halloween is a prime time for mischief and burglaries. 

Test Your Home Smoke Alarms

While you are testing your home security system, don’t forget to test your smoke alarms well in advance of the Halloween celebrations to minimize the chance of having a claim for fire damage. 

To Carve or Not to Carve –

Leave the pumpkin-carving to the adults this Halloween and encourage them to use a special pumpkin cutter for extra safety. Allow children to help with the design before carving. Better yet, use an acrylic paint to paint the pumpkins or try any of these alternatives to cutting the pumpkins up.

Jack-o-Lantern Safety

Avoid fire damage claims by using a battery-powered light in your pumpkin. Jack-o-Lanterns left unattended can easily be tipped over by trick-or-treaters or pets. No sense in putting a person, pet or your home in danger.

No Open Flames

Just as with Jack-o-Lanterns, setting the spooky Halloween mood with candles and luminaries that can easily be overturned, could result in homeowners insurance claims for fire damage.  Consider light sticks or battery-powered lighting instead.

Check Your Homeowners Insurance

Take a moment to speak with your insurance agent to be sure you will be fully protected for whatever plans you have for the Halloween Holiday.  The time to find out that your coverage is incomplete is NOT after you have a claim.

*****

About Julie Rock-Chatellier
As Claim Manager and adjuster for Provencher & Company, Julie assures the claims process transpires smoothly and timely with both our adjusters and clients throughout the course of managing our claim assignments; overseeing the claims support staff, examiners and trainers in our National Claim Center.

Julie also serves as the claim system administrator and website & social media coordinator for Provencher & Company. Having over 18 years experience in office management, bookkeeping and customer account management, she has served in staff and management assignments in various industries, gaining a working, practical knowledge of marketing & account administration. 

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