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Horrors! Halloween hijinks are hassles for hapless homeowners

It seems a shame, but Halloween is really pretty risky. In the "old days," the primary concern was about tainted candy. Urban legends abound about the innocent 5-year-old trick-or-treater in a Miami suburb -- right on the block where a friend of a friend lives -- who bites into a rosy red apple, only to find a razor blade or surgical needle. You couldn't swing a black cat without hitting some kind of terrifying tale of danger to life, limb and property.

The little ghouls' and goblins' safety is always a concern. It's important not to forget, though, that Halloween is also about trickery and vandalism. And, according to a AAA representative, densely populated areas like Miami are more likely to be mired in mischief.

It may be a good time, then, for homeowners to review their property insurance policies. If something happens to or on the property, the homeowner should know if it's covered and if there is a deductible.

Of course, it's a lot easier to avoid making a claim altogether. Insurance representatives offer some suggestions:

  • Make sure sidewalks and the path to your door are clear of cauldrons, pumpkins and other decorations, including dry ice or smoke. This is a "kill two risks with one werewolf" move: Visitors have less to trip over (remember, some of them are wearing masks that obscure a good portion of their vision), and vandals have fewer opportunities to grab and go. Keeping decorations and pumpkins closer to the house -- farther away from passersby -- will also deter the little gangsters.
  • Keep cars, especially expensive cars, in the garage or covered by tarps. Time-worn pranks, like egging or dumping "blood" on a car can be a mess to clean up at the very least. Generally, a comprehensive auto insurance policy will cover vandalism, though the claim may not be high enough to beat the deductible.

There is more. Don't be scared -- we'll continue the list in our next post.

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

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