5 Halloween pranks that are probably covered by your insurance

By Penny Gusner

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30 2013 8:30 a.m. MDT

  • Kids run into your car. If kids are busy rifling through their candy bags and walk into your car or accidentally bang it with their heavy candy bag hard enough to leave a mark, this would be covered by collision.
  • Black cat crosses your path. If you hit a cat, or any other domestic or wild animal, and it damages your vehicle, then this would be an animal strike and covered under your comprehensive coverage. However, if a black cat runs across the road, spooks you and causes you to crash into a tree, that would be covered by collision.
  • Halloween decoration cause dings and dents. If an inflatable pumpkin breaks loose, rolls down the street and crashes into your car, causing a dent -- that’s a collision claim. However, if a Halloween decoration lets loose due to wild winds becomes a flying missile and falls hard on your vehicle causing damage, this would be a comprehensive claim.
No matter what type of claim a Halloween incident or prank falls under, I’d advise you to save your car insurance for the big things. If the damage to your vehicle is minimal, get an estimate for repairs to see if it’s less than your deductible amount to repair. If it is, skip making a claim. Pay out-of-pocket or find the responsible party and make him pay.

If the repair costs are way over your deductible, then go ahead and make the claim. One comprehensive claim doesn’t typically raise your rates. However, if you have multiple claims -- of any type -- it can cause a rate increase; or, your car insurance company may even find you too much of a risk to renew your policy at the end of its term.

Best yet, if you have a garage, park your car inside in on Halloween where it will be safe away from malevolent ghosts and black cats.

Penny Gusner has been working in the car insurance business for more than 10 years and answering consumer questions for most of that. She has seen it all, and she researches the routine and the bizarre with equal enthusiasm.