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Halloween and premises liability claims

Halloween poses three insurance risks for homeowners in New York. First, there is the risk of becoming the victim of vandalism or burglary. Of all the Halloween-related property damage claims that are filed, an average of 19% are for vandalism while 21% are for off-premises theft and 60% are for on-premises theft.

Then there is the risk that trick-or-treaters will injure themselves on one's property. Those who decorate their homes for Halloween should watch out for any electrical hazards and trip hazards. For instance, strobe lights can cause seizures in people with epilepsy, and extension cords can trip someone. Homeowners need to consider food safety, too, warning children beforehand when the candy they hand out contains nuts.

The last safety risk that homeowners run is that of a fire erupting. Flaming jack-o-lanterns and other decorations ignited 840 home fires back in 2016, and the National Fire Protection Association says that those fires created a total of $11.4 million in property damage. Homeowners may want to use battery-powered bulbs instead of candles.

A homeowners insurance policy provides personal liability coverage of at least $100,000. This limit could be raised to $500,000 if homeowners feel it is necessary. They could also consider a separate umbrella policy for extra coverage.

Those who were injured on another's property may want to see an attorney who works in premises liability law. With an attorney, they may be able to establish just how the homeowner failed in his or her duty of care. They may have the lawyer negotiate on their behalf with the homeowner's insurance company. If successful, their claim may cover their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. As a last resort, the lawyer might take the case to court.

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