Halloween is known for bats, vampires, ghosts, witches, candy, and… insurance claims? These can be the spookiest of all. And Halloween is one of the biggest days for the kind of trickery that leads to insurance claims.
We’ve all heard that menacing cry, “Trick or treat!” Well, if the kids don’t get a treat, or if they just don’t like the treat, they may retaliate with a costly trick. This could be anything from egging a house to breaking flower pots to pumpkining a car. All of which could lead to a property insurance claim.
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, you’re twice as likely to find your personal car vandalized on Halloween as any other day. And if Halloween falls on a weekend, it’s even worse. Fortunately, October 31st is a Monday this year.
The average cost per claim filed on Halloween is almost $1,700, according to ABC affiliate WAAY TV. This is a claim worth filing. But think twice before filing a claim for 50 bucks. Depending on your insurance company, a claim could follow you for five years, hiking up your premium.
Seems like peanut allergies are on the rise. So, what happens if you accidentally throw some Reese’s Pieces into an allergic kid’s trick or treat bag? Any resulting medical treatment should be covered by the child’s health insurance policy. The family might also go after your homeowner’s policy for damages. Might be safest to stick to Twizzlers.
Spookepreneurs who run haunted house attractions should load up on general liability insurance. A lot can go wrong in a dark building where people dressed in costumes try to scare paying visitors. A Saint Louis haunted house faced a wrongful death charge after a 15 year-old girl with asthma had a terrible reaction to a fog machine. The fact that the haunted house posted signs warning people with respiratory issues to stay outside did not protect the attraction from getting sued.
Beneath all that hay lurks a vehicle, which requires auto insurance. Since most people who operate hayrides charge admission, they also need business insurance. Regular auto insurance doesn’t cover paying customers injured on the ride.
Lloyd’s of London takes the lead in insuring people against werewolf, vampire and zombie attacks. While actual statistics aren’t available, rumor has it that sixty thousand people have bought vampire and werewolf attack insurance, many in the wake of the Twilight series’ popularity.
The Zombie Protection Agency sells umbrella policies to cover life, home and auto in the event of a zombie apocalypse. The price of a lifetime policy is extremely low – a one-time PayPal payment of $9.99. Most people buy the policy for the cool insurance card. Nobody will ever cash in. Policy holders will either be too busy eating brains or having their brains eaten to get around to filing a claim.
Those who fear being abducted by space aliens can buy a policy. It won’t stop the aliens from catching you, but the cash payout could help assuage the indignity of being probed. Shirley MacLaine is probably the most famous person who has bought this insurance. Or at least, who’s admitted it. If you want to join the tens of thousands of people with this type of insurance, call Hettler, we work with Lloyd’s.
Loch Ness Monster
Another Lloyd’s classic: In 1971, Cutty Sark, the Scottish whiskey company, offered a $2.4 million-dollar reward for catching the Loch Ness Monster. But then the whiskey maker began to worry somebody would really find the monster, and they’d have to pay up. So, they took out a policy with Lloyd’s so that the insurer would have to foot the bill. Lloyd’s stipulated that the creature must be at least 20 feet long and vetted by the National History Museum curators to qualify for payout.
A pub owner in Lowestoft, England took out a £500 a year policy because he worried a poltergeist would injure his customers, according to BBC News. His policy covers death and permanent disability caused by ghosts or other abnormal phenomena. The pesky ghost throws glasses inside the 500-year-old Royal Falcon Hotel, which is located beside an old graveyard. Creepy!
If you’re worried about a poltergeist at home, up your homeowner’s policy. Be sure you’ve recorded all your assets. Then if a ghost steals or destroys any items, you can claim reimbursement as a “mysterious disappearance.”
The most common medical malpractice claims are surgical errors on inpatients, and misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose for outpatients. But imagine what a gaffe it is if you misdiagnose a patient as dead and have them buried alive.
A 16-year-old girl in Honduras collapsed and began foaming at the mouth for unknown reasons. Her parents took her to a priest for exorcism, but she didn’t respond. Three hours later, doctors deemed her dead. After she was buried, her husband heard her screams while visiting her grave. He convinced cemetery workers to dig her up, but it was too late. She had clawed the inside of her coffin.
On second thought, probably no amount of malpractice insurance will cover this misdiagnosis.
Let’s Get Practical
Zombie attacks, alien abductions and being buried alive are unlikely to happen to you this Halloween, thank goodness. But there are ways to avoid the more mundane problems, which are likelier to occur.
Here are a few ways to prepare for Halloween and avoid a claim:
Battery-operated candles are much safer than the real thing, which are a serious fire hazard. Nearly a thousand home fires a year are caused by Halloween decorations, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
To avoid vandalism, park your car inside a garage or in a well-lit area. Lock doors and turn on your car alarm.
Flame-retardant costumes only!
Provide sufficient outdoor lighting to keep trick or treaters safe.
Keep dogs away from trick or treaters.
Don’t leave big pumpkins out on your steps – these are too tempting for would-be vandals.