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Trick or treat, or insurance claim?

Posted On: Oct. 3, 2019 9:11 AM CST

Trick or treat

A cornerstone of Halloween — little kids and their parents scampering door to door in search of candy — is a source of hair-raising risk for homeowners, according to a homeowners insurance expert weighing in recently in three risks associated with the holiday.

“(Halloween) actually presents a scary situation you may not think about — a potentially expensive Halloween-related lawsuit,” wrote Pat Howard, a personal finance writer at Policygenius Magazine, in a blog post in late September. “Any accidents that happen on your property during the spookiest day of the year is a liability risk for homeowners, so it’s important to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance.”

Mr. Howard goes on to list three major risks: more property crime, from egging one’s front door to toilet-papering one’s lawn, or “vandalism” in insurance-speak; the premises liability that kicks in if a trick-or-treater trips over decorations and needs costly medical attention as a result; and lastly, fire hazards associated with candles and other flammable décor that aims to create a festive, spooky mood.

“Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep ... until you’ve blown out all of the candles,” Mr. Howard wrote.