If you’re easily spooked, stop reading. Your car is almost twice as likely to be vandalized on Halloween compared to the average day and is more likely to be stolen than on any other holiday. And in case your kids haven’t nagged you enough this week about buying a cape and/or wand: Halloween is today.
But if you want to be prepared, those stats—from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)—are mighty helpful, along with several advisories from insurance and traffic safety groups about how to best protect your car on All Hallow’s Eve.
Vandals and Thieves Out in Force on Halloween
To arrive at its statistic, the HLDI culled vandalism claims made under comprehensive coverage from 28 insurers between 2008 and 2012.
The average number of claims per day for all of those companies was 692. The average number of claims on Halloween for those years: 1,253. It was the highest average number of claims for any day of the year, according to the Institute.
The NICB looked at 2011 theft data specifically, counting the number of thefts on each holiday that year. The bureau found that Halloween brought 2,328 car theft reports, the highest number out of 11 holidays listed in the analysis. The next highest was New Year’s Day, with 2,286 claims.
According to the HLDI, vandalism aside from the holidays “seems to occur more often on weekends and in the summer.”
In other words, whenever rascally kids have free time. But put them in costumes and give them candy?
There’s no telling how the night’ll go.
Tips Against Vandals, Thieves
Comprehensive coverage can protect you against most car-related damage that could occur on Halloween. It is a relatively cheap car insurance coverage type compared to the kinds of incidents it protects a policyholder against, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Comprehensive coverage can cover the exact kinds of damage noted in the aforementioned reports: vandalism (from superheroes spray-painting your car to pixies puncturing your tires) and theft (in case a literary character lifts your ride entirely).
A number of groups have released advisories to help out jittery drivers who want to keep their cars safe.
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) advised policyholders to park their cars in a garage, if possible.
“With Halloween parties, there are more cars on the road and costumed kids trick-or-treating throughout neighborhoods,” Christopher Hackett, PCI’s director of personal lines policy, said in a statement. “It’s easy to forget about the increased potential for … auto insurance claims.”
According to LoJack, the well-known company specializing in car theft recovery, thefts on the holiday have outgrown its early stereotypes.
“Auto theft on Halloween isn’t just a case of kids joyriding anymore, but rather sophisticated criminals whose sole purpose is to find new ways to elude authorities and profit from the theft of stolen vehicles,” Patrick Clancy, vice president of the company’s law enforcement division, said in a statement.
LoJack provided the following tips:
- Arm your alarm (and any other security features).
- Keep your keys on you.
- Park in busy, well-lit areas (or in a garage).
- Don’t program your home address in your GPS.
- Hide all valuables in the car from sight.