Agents Can Advise Clients on Halloween Coverage, Accident Prevention

October 31, 2011

The Halloween night is filled with frightful risks. Fortunately. insurance agents can play a helpful role by advising their clients about coverage and accident prevention.

• The Insurance Information Institute says standard homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for vandalism. There will be a deductible before the policy starts to pay, but if there are expensive damages to the home or possessions the policyholder will be financially protected.

In the event that the policyholder’s car is damaged by mischievous trick-or-treaters, there is coverage under the optional comprehensive portion of the auto insurance policy.

• If a Halloween candle or electrically powered decoration causes a fire, any damage will be covered by standard homeowners and renters insurance policies.

If the fire is significant enough to make the home unlivable, the policyholder would also be covered for additional living expenses, such as having to check into a hotel while the home is being repaired.

• If a trick-or-treater or Halloween party guest is accidentally injured in the policyholder’s house or apartment, the insured would be covered under the liability portion of the homeowners or renters insurance policy, should the injured guest sue the policyholder.

Standard policies also include no-fault medical coverage so that the injured guest could simply file their medical claim with the policyholder’s insurer and avoid a lawsuit. Not everyone is familiar with this coverage, but it provides very important financial protection.

• If a group of excited trick-or-treaters darts in front of the car, causing the driver to swerve and hit a tree, the damage should be covered, the Institute says.

Accidents that do not involve another driver or pedestrian are covered under the optional collision portion of an auto insurance policy. If another car or person is involved in the accident, the liability portion of the auto policy would kick in.

Preventing Accidents

The Institute offers several basic steps to make home safe for trick-or-treaters.

• Remove all objects around the outside of the house that could cause children to trip or fall.

• Keep candles, jack-o-lanterns, matches and lighters in a place that children cannot reach. Halloween candles with multiple wicks close to one another are hazardous and should not be used. When lit they can produce a single high flame or several large flames close together resulting in intense heat and the danger of igniting nearby materials such as curtains or window sills.

• Keep pets inside and away from trick-or-treaters and lit candles, especially if they are easily frightened or become overexcited in the presence of strangers.

• If using decorative lights indoors or outdoors, use lights certified by a recognized organization such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard damaged sets. Do not overload extension cords.

• Motorists should remember that kids may be distracted by all the costumes and candy. Motorists are advised to drive slowly in residential areas and honk horns on dimly lit streets to alert children who may not be paying close attention to vehicular traffic.

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