NerdWallet: How insurance can help when Halloween turns tricky

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This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

When ghosts and goblins run amok, only people with the right insurance will be in luck. Find out which policies pay when Halloween pranks are more trick than treat — or when something more serious happens.

1. Your car gets egged

Last year, insurance claims related to car vandalism increased on Halloween and the days before and after, says Kevin Quinn, vice president of claims at Mercury Insurance. Raw eggs, pumpkins and rocks are all common projectiles.

Related: A lot of really bad things are more likely to happen on Halloween

How insurance can help: If your car can’t be cleaned or suffers serious damage, such as a broken window, it’s usually covered by comprehensive car insurance.

2. Goblins toilet-paper the yard

It’s not uncommon for little goblins to damage trees or landscaping while “TP’ing” a yard.

How insurance can help: Homeowners insurance generally will cover you. If you’re making a claim, call your insurer for an inspection before cleaning up. An adjuster needs to document the damage.

3. Yard decorations disappear

Whether it’s your vintage lawn gnome or a life-size animatronic zombie, yard décor is vulnerable to Halloween thieves.

How insurance can help: Standard homeowners, condo and renters insurance often provides coverage if outdoor decorations disappear. Just be sure you’ve saved the receipts and made a police report.

4. The jack-o’-lantern starts a fire

As with vehicle vandalism, residential fires are more common around Halloween, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The biggest causes are cooking and heating, but carelessness, open flames, electrical malfunctions and intentional acts can also be to blame.

How insurance can help: Fire damage is covered by homeowners insurance, including living expenses if you have to stay elsewhere during repairs. Rented property typically is covered by the landlord’s policy, but you’ll need renters insurance to get reimbursed for personal belongings.

5. Pedestrians act unpredictably

Besides New Year’s, Halloween sees a higher number of pedestrian deaths than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sadly, many victims are children.

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Costumed kids can be hard to see, often roaming without their parents and more likely to dart into the street, says Nicole Mahrt-Ganley, senior director of public affairs at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

She says adults who are distracted by their mobile devices or intoxicated can also be unpredictable pedestrians.

How insurance can help: Your auto liability insurance covers injuries you cause while driving.

Halloween insurance tips
  • Prevent problems: Park cars in the garage or a well-lit area, use battery-operated candles or glow sticks in your pumpkin and be cautious when driving on trick-or-treat night.
  • Don’t make small claims: If damaged or stolen items are worth less than your deductible, it’s not worth making an insurance claim.
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Beth Buczynski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @bethbuczynski.