Who's Responsible If Halloween Pranksters Trashed My House?

Find out how the right coverage protects you against mischief and other dangers.

Social Halloween Pranksters

While many parts of Halloween are designed to be all in good fun, there’s also an obvious dark side to the holiday. You might just be trying to hand out candy to kids in costumes, when you find your home has been vandalized by some hooligans who weren’t out trick-or-treating. So what happens if Halloween pranksters trample your garden, break your lawn gnomes, and smash a few windows? Who’s responsible for this mess, anyway?

Fortunately an independent insurance agent can help you not only answer  this question, but also clear up any other insurance concerns you may have. Independent insurance agents are experienced in handling claims for all kinds of obscure situations, so they know exactly how to get you the coverage you need, long before you ever need it. Here’s how they’d help protect you against Halloween pranksters trampling your garden and breaking your gnomes and windows.

Halloween Stats

Halloween comes just before the Day of the Dead, so it’s bound to bring plenty of mischief along with all the good-spirited fun. Check out these spooky stats about Halloween pranks and the holiday in general.

  • Children are twice as likely to be killed in traffic accidents on Halloween.
  • 70% of trick-or-treaters are not accompanied by an adult.
  • There are 3,800 Halloween-related injuries every year.
  • 12% of unaccompanied trick-or-treaters are age six or younger.
  • $13 million in property damage is caused by fires on Halloween every year.
  • 65% of kids don’t get a Halloween safety lecture from their parents.
  • As recently as the 1930s, Halloween pranks were so dangerous that many cities considered banning the holiday.
  • Trick-or-treating and haunted attractions originally developed as a solution to end malicious pranking.
  • Trick-or-treating became an established part of America’s culture in the 1950s.
  • Some of the most common Halloween pranks include swapping political signs, egging houses, toilet-papering houses, writing or drawing on car windows, pumpkin smashing, bonfires, swapping doormats, and setting livestock free.

With these stats in mind, it might be easier to see why having the right protection in place before Halloween rolls around this year could seriously help reduce your chills.

Which Insurance Would Protect My Property from Pranksters?

In order to get reimbursed for trampled gardens, broken lawn gnomes, and shattered windows, you’d need a homeowners insurance policy. Halloween pranks would fall under the category of malicious mischief, which is a covered peril in standard homeowners insurance policies. Homeowners insurance would pay to repair or replace destroyed or damaged property in the event it was targeted by Halloween pranksters.

How Does Home Insurance Protect Me against Theft and Vandalism?

The property damage coverage section of your homeowners insurance policy provides protection for theft and vandalism. This coverage protects not only the structure of your home but also your personal property, as well as foliage surrounding the home, like your garden. So, stolen or broken gnomes, trampled gardens, and shattered windows would all be covered under your homeowners insurance’s property damage section.

How Would Liability Coverage Protect Me after This Scary Incident?

If your home gets targeted by pranksters on Halloween, you can press charges against the kids who damaged your home or other property. The liability coverage section of your homeowners insurance pays for legal expenses, including attorney and court fees. The pranksters’ homeowners insurance coverage would also protect them if they got sued, unless it was proven that they caused the damage to your home on purpose.

If Police Don’t Catch the Pranksters, Who’s Responsible for the Damage?

Unfortunately, sometimes the pranksters get away, and you’re never able to identify who vandalized your property. In this case, you’d be left to file any property damage claims through your homeowners insurance coverage and wouldn’t get any reimbursement from the pranksters’ insurance. The good news is, your homeowners insurance policy should cover the damage caused by malicious mischief, including pranks, to help make the incident less terrifying.

Is It Worth Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim in This Scenario?

Just because you can file a claim through your homeowners insurance for something, doesn’t always mean you should. The real question is whether the value of the property that got damaged is higher than what you would have to pay out of pocket towards your policy’s deductible. Your property damage coverage typically has a deductible that’s 1% of the value of your dwelling.

Let’s say your home is worth $500,000. That would mean that your property damage coverage deductible is $5,000. Unless you have a particularly fancy garden or designer lawn gnomes, you may find that it’s not worth bothering to submit a home insurance claim, and just take the losses out of pocket. However, if there’s extensive damage to your windows, it may be worth it to file a claim. A professional damage assessment would help you to make this decision.

How Would This Incident Affect My Premiums?

The good news is, it really shouldn’t. Homeowners insurance companies are unlikely to punish a policyholder for a single incident such as property damage by Halloween pranksters. Premiums are typically only raised when filing a certain type of claim becomes a pattern by a policyholder. Sometimes insurance companies even choose to non-renew a policy past its expiration date if the policyholder has a history of filing lots of claims. But in this case, you should be okay.

Other Home Insurance Coverages Worth Considering

Halloween mischief isn’t the only frightening threat homeowners face. There are plenty of common risks that can happen year-round, and homeowners need to be prepared for any and all that could apply to them. Check out these endorsements commonly added to standard homeowners insurance policies to help you decide if you need to increase your coverage.

  • Sewer backup endorsements: Homeowners insurance protects you against a lot of things, but typically sewage backup isn’t one of them. While this incident would be messy enough in the first place, not having coverage would really be a nightmare.
  • Home-based business endorsements: While standard homeowners policies protect against third-party injuries on your property, you’re not protected if you run a business out of your home. You’ll need to add this endorsement if you have a home office or studio in order to ensure you have adequate liability coverage.
  • Earthquake insurance: Also known as earth movement policies, this coverage protects homeowners against home damage due to earthquakes, mudslides, and other related natural events. Standard homeowners policies do not provide coverage for these types of disasters.
  • Flood insurance: Many natural disasters are covered under standard homeowners insurance policies, but floods aren’t one of them. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you’ll want to purchase a flood insurance policy to protect your home against damage or destruction due to flood waters.
  • Personal property endorsements: Standard homeowners policies place limits on expensive personal property items like jewelry and electronics. If you’re worried about these items getting stolen, lost, damaged, or destroyed, it’s a good idea to purchase endorsements for specific pieces you’d like to increase coverage limits for.

Talk to your independent insurance agent about the possibility of adding endorsements to your homeowners policy to create a more complete picture of coverage as well as a more peaceful state of mind.

Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Can Help

When it comes to protecting your home against Halloween prankster mischief and all other strange incidents, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. These agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in homeowners and property insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources, and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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