October marks the National Crime Prevention Council’s annual National Crime Prevention Month— a time to reinforce the importance of community safety.
The safety-focused month spotlights successful crime prevention efforts on the local, state and national levels, while promoting personal safety issues and awareness for citizens.
October also marks a time for costumes, candy and unfortunately, crime. According to data from OII member Travelers Insurance (@Travelers), crime-related insurance claims spike more so on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
To help protect you, your home and your belongings this month (and every month of the year), read on to learn the basics of home and car insurance, as well as personal safety tips to promote crime prevention.
Home Safety Tips for Halloween
Whether you’re transforming your home into a haunted house or simply handing out candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters, a quick home safety check is important.
- Trick-or-treat safely. Remind children to walk, not run, between houses and stick to well-lit driveways and sidewalks. Alternatively, if you have a long driveway or walkway, turn on your outdoor lights, so trick-or-treaters can easily see the path to your door.
- Clear a path; clean up your yard. Make sure the path from your driveway or the sidewalk to the front door is free of obstructions and hazards, such as leaves and dead branches.
- Check your homeowners insurance. Opening up your home to visitors can expose you to potential insurance claims and lawsuits. Check with your insurance agent to make sure your house is adequately covered.
For the complete list of tips, read Allstate’s article, “Prevent Halloween Accidents with These 7 Home Safety Tips.”
Home Insurance Coverage
With the tips above in mind, you can ensure a fun-filled Halloween for everyone. But what if a break-in occurs? And what does home insurance cover?
Despite October being recognized as National Crime Prevention Month, evidence shows that an uptick in crime occurs every Halloween. Because of this, you’ll want to speak with your insurance agent about what you’re covered for in the event of a break-in.
Although policies may vary, you’ll typically find that homeowners insurance helps cover:
- Dwelling coverage. Helps cover the cost of repairs needed following a break-in, such as damages to your home and property caused during the burglary.
- Personal property coverage. Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your belongings if they are stolen or damaged by a covered loss, such as theft.
For more information about homeowners insurance and personal property protection, visit Allstate’s blog.
Car Safety Tips for Halloween
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report, “Halloween is one of the leading holidays where the most car thefts occur.”
- Check your surroundings. At home, park in the garage. Away from home, park in a well-lit, populated area, like a gated lot or secure parking garage. Don’t forget to lock your doors and close all windows.
- Eliminate temptations. Remove valuables and any evidence of them from your vehicle, such as a GPS or cell phone charger.
- Take extra security measures. Add an alarm system and/or surveillance cameras to your car to make it a less desirable target.
By taking these steps, you’ll reduce the likelihood of a break-in. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t review your car insurance policy every now and then.
Car Insurance Coverage
Under most policies, damages caused by theft or vandalism will be covered by Comprehensive coverage. In the event of a break-in, check your auto policy to see if you have Comprehensive coverage.
If you do, you’re able to identify what items are covered under auto insurance, such as a car stereo, tires or rims. Other items—cell phones, CDs, electronics, purses, wallets, etc.—are usually covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage can vary from one policy to the next, so be sure to talk to your agent about what is and isn’t covered.
Beyond home and car safety, you’ll also want to review basic ways to protect yourself from danger.
Personal Safety Tips
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, a little planning and knowledge can help you avoid a potential disaster. Here are a few steps you can take to keep yourself safe:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Avoid dark alleys if possible.
- Don’t park in vacant lots.
- Stick to busy streets with lampposts.
- Walk with a friend whenever possible.
- Avoid distractions, such as listening to music or cellphone use.
- Trust your instincts.
- Try to remain calm and confident.
With October underway and Halloween in sight, there are plenty of ways to safeguard your belongings. From home and car insurance coverage to personal safety tips, take the appropriate measures before an accident happens.
See these resources for more ways our members and partners educate others on the importance of public safety:
- American Family Insurance (@amfam): Tips for a Safe Halloween
- Central Insurance Companies ( @Central_Ins): Have a Safe and Spooktacular Halloween!, Avoid the Tricks, Shop for Treats This Halloween, Don’t Be Haunted by a Claim this Halloween
- Erie Insurance (@erie_insurance): 4 Lesser-Known Halloween Safety Tips, Your Halloween Safety Checklist, How to Prepare Your House for Trick or Treaters
- GEICO (@GEICO): Halloween Safety Tips
- National Crime Prevention Council (@McGruffatNCPC): Violent Crime and Personal Safety
- State Farm (@StateFarm): 16 Ways to Have a Safer Halloween