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Horrors! Halloween hijinks are hassles for hapless homeowners p2

In our last post, we were talking about the risks associated with Halloween. As wonderful as it is, Halloween can turn into a nightmare if a trick-or-treater slips and falls in a homeowner's yard. It's also a time of year that presents a host of opportunities for vandals and thieves. Property insurance policies may cover pranks and cranks, but there may be a few easy ways to avoid that injury or damage altogether.

We discussed ways to make your property safe for trick-or-treaters last time. We also talked about vandalism to cars. And that takes us to the rest of the list.

  • Property insurance will cover vandalism to the house and yard. In some cases, though, the claim is likely to be denied. A trick like toilet paper in trees or on shrubs doesn't really cause damage, so the cleanup is the homeowner's responsibility.
  • If you avoid Halloween by heading to the movies, or if you take the broomstick to a party across town, remember to secure the home and to leave a light or two on. Police usually see an uptick in burglaries and thefts at Halloween. The good news is that property lost in a crime like burglary is covered by the typical homeowner policy. Damage to the home is also covered. The one caveat insurers have is that the policyholder must establish proof of ownership of stolen items.
  • Dog bites are a big problem this time of year. As cute as the little tartan jacket and tam are on the terrier, the noise and confusion that comes with trick-or-treating or Halloween parties can be too much for him. Many homeowner insurance policies cover damages, including medical costs, from a dog bite. It can also be excluded, and local laws may affect the claim, as well. Insurance reps, always eager to avoid a claim, recommend keeping the dog locked away when visitors are in the home.

Finally, if your local graveyard is also a favorite Halloween prank-ground (what is it with 9-year-old boys?), you may wake up on Nov. 1 to find your family's gravestones damaged or stolen. It's no small matter -- granite gravestones cost between $7,500 and $12,000 right now.

Rest in peace. It's covered by your homeowners insurance.

Source: Fox Business, "Are Halloween tricks covered?" Donna Fuscaldo, Oct. 27, 2011

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