Halloween is a time for family-friendly activities like trick-or-treating, but it’s also a busy night for car thieves and pedestrian accidents.
Comprehensive insurance covers many common vehicular pranks, typically considered acts of vandalism. So, when your car is the target of ghoulish behavior, you’ll be covered. Here are some Halloween hijinks that are covered by car insurance.
- Halloween trick No. 1: Egged vehicle
- Halloween trick No. 2: Broken car window
- Halloween trick No. 3: Sugar in the gas tank
- Halloween trick No. 4: Slashed tires
- Halloween trick No. 5: Flying missiles
- Halloween trick No. 6: A black cat (or deer) crosses your path
- Halloween trick No. 7: Car theft
- Halloween trick No. 8: Car is burglarized
- Final thoughts: Halloween tricks
Halloween trick No. 1: Egged vehicle
If your car was egged or hit by a stray paintball, first try to wash it. But if the volatile compounds in eggs have damaged the paint, you must have comprehensive insurance to file a claim for vandalism and have it covered.
It also might not be worth filing a claim if the damage isn’t costly – if you have $250 in damage and your deductible is $500, you won’t even meet that threshold. Consider getting aftermarket vehicle paint and DIY your paint touch-ups if it’s a small job.
Keep in mind that if you have a custom paint job, it may not be covered unless you have custom parts and equipment coverage as part of your policy.
Halloween trick No. 2: Broken car window
Shattered windows are also covered under your comprehensive coverage. But again, consider whether it’s worth it to file a claim for glass breakage unless the damage is extensive.
Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina waive the deductible for windshield repair or replacement. In all other states, the deductible must be paid if you make a glass claim unless you chose a zero deductible for glass coverage.
Halloween trick No. 3: Sugar in the gas tank
While the myth that sugar in a gas tank causes significant damage has been debunked, you may need to take the car to a mechanic to clean out the fuel tank. It should be covered under comprehensive coverage as it’s vandalism. Worse than sugar is having water in your gas tank – if you suspect water in your gas tank, take it to a mechanic immediately.
Halloween trick No. 4: Slashed tires
Tire damage from an act of vandalism is also covered by comprehensive coverage. Your car insurance company will take into account how much your tires have depreciated – and check your policy as it will likely cover only the tires that have damage. So, if one of your four tires has been slashed, you’ll only be able to file a claim for that one.
Halloween trick No. 5: Flying missiles
If a pumpkin is thrown at your vehicle and damages it, then this would be considered a flying missile and covered under your comprehensive coverage. But remember to keep your deductible in mind – a claim might not be worth the insurance premium increase at renewal.
Or, if you decorated your vehicle for Halloween and a piece comes loose and damages another vehicle, then your property damage would kick in. With your own car in that scenario, you’d need to have collision coverage to have the repairs covered by your insurer.
Halloween trick No. 6: A black cat (or deer) crosses your path
If you hit a cat – or any other animal – it’s referred to as an “animal strike” and is covered under your comprehensive coverage. Keep in mind that fall and spring are prime migratory seasons for deer, so watch out for eye shine when you’re driving along highways in the dark.
Learn more about Best and worst states for vehicle and animal collisions in 2022
Halloween trick No. 7: Car theft
Halloween is the third-most-popular holiday for car thieves, following New Year’s Eve and Presidents Day, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), an insurance nonprofit. If your car does get stolen, you can file a comprehensive claim.
Halloween trick No. 8: Car is burglarized
Pop quiz: Car burglaries are covered by car insurance – yes or no? Yes and no: The damage to your car from a burglary would be covered by comprehensive coverage, but the items inside your car are covered by your homeowners insurance policy. So, if your car gets broken into, you’ll need to file a homeowners insurance claim: Insure.com has the lowdown on how to do that.
Final thoughts: Halloween tricks
Depending on the type of Halloween incident, it may be wise to skip the claim and just pay for the damage yourself. If the damage to your vehicle is minimal, get an estimate for repairs to see if it’s less than your deductible to repair.
If the damage and cost of repairs are significant, then make a claim. Keep in mind that car insurance companies typically require vandalism claims to be accompanied by a police report. So, if it turns out someone you know did the damage, the individual may be busted by the police and pursued by your insurance company for any money it paid out in claims.
Finally, keep in mind that driving on Halloween requires extra vigilance. Watch out for children who may dart out into the street, buckle children up in the car without their costumes on, drive slowly around neighborhoods and never drink and drive.
– Penny Gusner contributed to this story.
Resources & Methodology
- Motor Biscuit. “Fact vs. Myth: What Does Sugar in a Gas Tank Really Do?” Accessed October 2022.
- National Insurance Crime Bureau. “NICB Releases Annual Holiday Theft Report.” Accessed October 2022.
- National Retail Federation. “Halloween Participation Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels with Record Spending.” Accessed October 2022.