Is Homeowner’s Insurance Necessary for a Haunted House? – Halloween 2013

Today is Halloween and most people aren’t thinking about insurance.  They’re thinking about ghosts, goblins, kids, and candy.  They’re thinking about Hocus Pocus, bobbing for apples, and maybe even haunted houses.  One more thing that should come to mind in this mystical month is protecting yourself, your possessions, and your no doubt gloriously-garbed guests.  You could try to use spells, hexes, tricks, or treats; I suppose.  In the end, however, you might find it easier and more effective to simply make sure that you’ve got a great homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy in place!

Not convinced?  Picture this: You’ve got the spookiest haunted house on the block.  Neighbors and their children are flocking to your back yard to partake in the scares.  Everyone is having a great time, when suddenly John, your bodybuilding-next-door-neighbor, is startled by a ghostly figure emerging from behind a tree.  He rears back and punches the apparition reflexively.  Unfortunately, that ghostly figure happens to be your cousin Ralph.  Ralph will need your “Medical Payments” coverage for his broken nose.

ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITHOUT INSURANCE: $6,000
ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITH INSURANCE: $0

Meanwhile, Frank, your neighbor from across the street, lets his dog Duchess out—dressed in her own costume.  Unfortunately, Duchess does not appreciate the undignified outfit.  After clawing out of it, she darts over to your yard to bury it where she believes it will never be found: under your petunias.  Unbeknownst to poor Duchess, your back yard is the home of a particularly vicious raccoon.  He pounces on the little dog and sends her running through the yard yelping.

 

Dog

Photo: FreeRangeStock.com

Soon you discover that Ralph’s injuries are the least of your problems.  Duchess darts right into the path of a child fleeing from the haunted house set-up, causing said youngster to kick over the fire pit.  Flames engulf your tool shed.  You’ll need “Other Structures” coverage to replace it and replace the items within it.

ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITHOUT INSURANCE: $3,500
ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITH INSURANCE: $500 (average deductible)

Meanwhile, little Susan from next door with the peanut allergy almost ingests a peanut butter cookie shaped like Frankenstein’s head.  Her over-protective mother stalks up to you shouting and waving her arms, threatening to sue you for reckless endangerment.  If she goes through with it, you just might need to use that handy-dandy “Homeowners’ Liability” coverage to cover legal expenses.

Gavel

Photo: FreeRangeStock.com

ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITHOUT INSURANCE: $100,000
ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITH INSURANCE: $0

Then, some opportunistic teenagers seize the moment to dart into your house and steal your brand new 52” LCD television, a professional-grade camera, laptop, and your grandfather’s pocket watch as well.  You’re going to have to use “Personal Property” coverage for those items.

ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITHOUT INSURANCE: $3,200
ESTIMATED COST TO YOU WITH INSURANCE: $500 (average deductible)

Money

Over the next few days, you spend hours cleaning up silly string, plastic spiders, and peeled grapes styled as eyeballs.  You decide that the pride of having the spookiest haunted house on the block isn’t worth the trouble anymore.  Once the decorations have been thrown out, it’s as if nothing ever happened—except for Ralph’s nose, your incinerated shed, a frivolous lawsuit, and a heap of stolen property.  Whew.  You’d be out thousands of dollars if you weren’t such a savvy insurance consumer.

While you may not become the victim of so many disastrous blunders in just one evening, accidents (and thefts!) do happen!  Protect yourself with a good home owners’ or renters’ insurance policy and all you need worry about is whether the “fun-sized” candy you’re handing out is fun enough to keep the kids down the street from tee-peeing your yard again this year.  Even Owlbert could have told you it was a mistake to hand out packets of oatmeal last year…

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