Halloween means adorable kiddos in Spiderman costumes, pumpkin spice lattes, and a veritable sugar-rush rollercoaster. But it also brings a slew of property damage and theft—sadly committed by flesh-and-blood humans, rather than witches and demons.
How do we know? Well, the homeowners and renters insurance claims we receive in the wake of Halloween paint a pretty clear picture. According to Lemonade, over the last five years Halloween has (on average) been the highest time of year for burglary and vandalism home insurance claims*.
Sometimes the holiday brings treats. Sometimes it brings vandalism and eggs smashed on your vinyl siding. Don’t be scared: Your insurance policy may have your back if your property is targeted on Mischief Night or Halloween.
•Many types of property damage and theft may be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
•Any damage to your car, however, would be handled by your auto insurance—not your homeowners insurance.
•Your homeowners (or renters insurance) policy can also come in handy if you face personal liability after someone is injured on your property (like a trick-or-treater who trips and falls on your porch).
We’ll discuss some common scenarios you might face. And we’ll also creep through other things to keep in mind if you want to avoid damage and risk this Spooky Season.
Help! A surly teenager dressed as ‘undead Harry Potter’ just egged my house, and I’m worried it’s destroying the paint.
Okay, that’s a pretty funny costume. But a really dumb prank. Don’t despair, though—this is a case of vandalism that your homeowners insurance may help cover.
In the meantime, you can take steps to reduce the damage. Experts recommend a three-part plan: Clean off the egg mess by hand, with a brush; squirt the facade with a power washer or hose; and then consider a cleaning solution like hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar and water (the right mix depends on your facade’s material).
Undead Harry Potter’s friend came back later that night and egged me again…but with hard-boiled eggs. What’s up with kids these days? One of the eggs smashed my front window!
Sigh. You’re right to be ticked off. But rest a little easier knowing that your homeowners insurance may cover this damage—after you’ve paid any relevant deductible, of course (the same caveat applies to every scenario we’re discussing here).
What if Mischief Night vandals leave my main house alone, but decide to trash my detached garage with eggs and spray paint?
Ah, it’s the perfect time for a Mini Insurance Lesson! Buckle up.
Your homeowners insurance policy has several bits to it. Things related to the physical structure of your house—like its roof, or foundation—fall under “Coverage A,” or “dwelling coverage.”
Then there’s Coverage B, or “other structures,” which applies to stuff like your detached garage. The amount of Coverage B is generally around 10% of what you have chosen for your Coverage A. Okay… but what does that mean?
Well, if you’ve got $500,000 of dwelling coverage, you’d likely have $50,000 of other structures coverage. That’s likely sufficient to protect you against most Mischief Night-style vandalism (though if someone decides it’d be funny to burn down your entire garage, it might be pushing things).
Everything above also applies to “other structures” you might have on your property, like fences, swimming pools, or gazebos.
Every year I decorate my yard with an animatronic display featuring the entire cast of the Ghostbusters movie, covered in ectoplasm, and dancing to old-school punk anthems. It is VERY COOL. What’s not cool is that some jerks decided to steal the entire thing on Halloween.
Your homeowners insurance policy may help cover a theft like this (after you’ve met your deductible). It doesn’t matter that the property in question was located on your lawn, and not inside your house, since homeowners insurance protects you against property theft even when you’re on the go—like at a cafe, or on the subway. And yes, your 12-foot-tall Skelly would be covered, too.
In addition to spray painting my garage windows and egging my house, pranksters thought it’d be hilarious to smash the windows of my Toyota Corolla. They also used a key to scratch some, um, anatomical drawings onto the passenger door. My homeowners insurance has me covered, right?
Sadly, your car does not fall under the umbrella of your homeowners insurance policy, even though you may think of it as part of your “personal property.” To be covered in this unfortunate incident you’d need to have appropriate auto insurance.
And if you’ve only got the bare minimum car insurance required by your state, you may not be covered against stuff like vandalism or theft—you’d need to have comprehensive coverage on your policy. You can read more about all of that here (and don’t forget that Lemonade also offers car insurance, along with bundling discounts if you already have homeowners!).
Meanwhile, here’s a bit of helpful information on how to deal with potential damages your car might face on Mischief Night, from egging to tire shenanigans and gasoline theft.
What if these ghouls smashed my Corolla’s window and also stole a bunch of valuables in my car?
Here’s where it gets interesting. The broken window itself would fall under your car insurance policy (though you’d have to have comprehensive coverage). But the stolen valuables would likely fall under your homeowners (or renters) insurance policy, which does protect you against theft both in and out of your actual home.
What can I do to scare potential vandals away around Halloween?
If you have the time and the right contacts, you might consider having a licensed master of the dark arts apply a “curse of protection” to your property. These generally last for 48 hours, but will require you to sacrifice a small part of your soul in exchange.
Don’t want to go that far? Consider a few simpler interventions, like:
- Installing motion sensors and lights that illuminate your yard
- Purchasing a security camera, or at least signage that tells people you have a security camera
- Temporarily stowing any expensive outdoor belongings away in a basement or garage
- Handing out really generous amounts of treats—full-sized Snickers, anyone?—in the hopes that you’re spared any destructive “tricks”
Does my homeowners insurance kick in if someone injures themselves on my property?
Good question. Yes, the personal liability coverage on your policy may apply if someone hurts themselves on Halloween, or any other day of the year.
For instance, if someone trips over a pumpkin on your porch and breaks their ankle. Or if you’re hosting a racious “Guys ‘n Ghouls” party and your boyfriend falls into your conversation pit.
What else should I keep in mind in advance of Halloween?
Forego real candles in favor of artificial ones. They provide the same spooky-creepy ambience, with zero risk of burning your house down.
How can I get Lemonade Homeowners insurance?
One of our favorite questions. You can get a quote quickly and easily, right from the comfort of your couch. Just click the button below to get started—it’s all treats, no tricks, and hassle-free.
*Methodology: Lemonade looked at burglary and vandalism claim counts every day of the year (based on Date-of-Loss) over the past 5 years to understand the highest time of year for these claims, aggregating counts to a rolling-2-day amount. The Halloween “time of year” is referring to claim count on October 31 & November 1.
A few quick additional words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage may not be available in all states.