American Property Casualty Insurance Association
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Nicole Mahrt Ganley


916-440-1116 or cell 916-616-5855





October 23, 2014

Don’t Get Spooked by Halloween Insurance Claims

PCI Provides Tips to Avoid Homeowners and Auto Claims

CHICAGO – As parents scamper to find a sold out Frozen Elsa or Anna costume, fill candy bowls, and carve Halloween pumpkins, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) reminds residents and drivers to take a few simple steps to keep Halloween safe and avoid auto and homeowners insurance claims.

“This year Halloween falls on a Friday night so there will be more parties, more cars and more trick-or-treaters traveling on dark streets throughout unfamiliar neighborhoods. With these extra hazards it’s easy to forget about the increased potential for homeowners or auto insurance claims,” said Christopher Hackett, PCI director of personal lines policy. “There are simple steps that every homeowner and driver can take to help make it a safe and claim-free Halloween.”

Unfortunately along with the candy, costumes and fun, a little mischief can also accompany Halloween. An analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found personal cars are twice as likely to be vandalized on October 31 as on an average day. HDLI reviewed vandalism claims from 2008 to 2012 by 28 companies representing two-thirds of the insurance market for private passenger cars and reports that on an average day those companies combined averaged 692 claims. The average cost per claim was $1,528, for a total average daily cost of more than $1 million per day. However, Halloween had the highest average number of claims for any day of the year with 1,253 average claims. HLDI also found in general, claim frequency for vandalism increases over weekends.


“A little preparedness can keep it a claims-free All Hallows Eve.  Remember to park your car in a safe, well-lit location or keep it inside a garage,” said Hackett.  “Homeowners can also take steps to minimize accidents. Keep the path to your front door well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause falls. Also, make sure your pets do not rush the front door each time the doorbell rings with trick-or-treaters.”


Halloween kicks off the biggest shopping season of the year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts Americans will spend $7.4 billion on candy, costumes and Halloween decorations in 2014.  A Friday night Halloween is likely to encourage more parties than in a typical year.  The National Confectioners Association expects $2.5 billion in candy sales alone.  Halloween is not just for the kids, the NRF reports $350 million is spent on pet costumes alone.


“Halloween is not just a risk for auto insurance claims.  Homeowners should keep in mind that their creepy crawly decorations can also become an attractive nuisance that could cause liability claims under a homeowners insurance policy,” said Hackett. “Although carving pumpkins is an annual family tradition, using candles can be a major fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association reports that Halloween decorations cause over 1,000 home fires each year.  Use battery operated candles instead and if you do use real candles, don’t forget to blow them out when the night is over.”


How to have a claims-free Halloween:


·         Park cars in well-lit areas or inside a garage

·         Lock cars, close windows and turn on car alarms

·         Watch out for kids crossing streets or walking between cars

·         Drive slower in busy neighborhoods full of superheros and Frozen’s Elsa and Anna

·         Dress kids in flame retardant costumes only

·         Keep walkways and paths well-lit and clear to avoid falling trick-or-treaters

·         Keep dogs on a leash, Don’t let aggressive dogs rush trick-or-treaters at the door

·         Make sure children wear comfortable shoes and can see out of their costume

·         Don’t put candles where kids or pets can knock them over

·         Don’t let children play with candles, matches or lighters

·         Don’t put candles in bedrooms or sleeping locations

·         Don’t leave candles unattended or on over night

·         Use battery-operated candles


Kids Health has more Halloween safety tips at:


PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $210 billion in annual premium, 39 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 47 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 33 percent of the homeowners market, 36 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 39 percent of the private workers compensation market.