You’ve always wanted to have a haunted house during spooky season, and now you’ve done it. The costumes, props, and scares are mapped out, and you’re ready to open your doors and horrify your neighbors.
Before you do, make sure you’ve protected your guests and yourself from the hazards of running a haunted house. Here’s what you need to know.
Understand Safety Hazards
Haunted houses face a variety of safety risks. They’re often dimly lit with twisting pathways and a lot of commotion as people react to the scare tactics.
Damage from fire is a top concern for haunted houses. Between the flammable materials used for decorations and the wires and cables from audio/visual equipment, a poorly set-up attraction can be a recipe for disaster.
Injuries to attendees and people working the haunted house are also potential risks you’ll have to consider as well. People can fall and trip when the lights are out. They may bump into equipment.
Haunted houses are considered a “special amusement building” and are required to meet specific fire code regulations per the National Fire Protection Association. It’s also important to check with the city or county for any local permitting requirements. Following these regulations will keep attendees safe and prevent your haunted house from being shut down.
Protect Yourself with the Right Insurance Coverage
Understanding the hazards of running a haunted house and following regulations to prevent problems will help keep everyone safe. But accidents can and will happen. The next step to protect yourself is to make sure you, as the owner of the haunted house, have proper insurance coverage — and enough of it.
Ask yourself (and an insurance professional) these questions:
Where is your haunted house located? If your haunted house is set up in your home or business property, and you’re relying on liability coverage you already have, you may be surprised later. The haunted house may be excluded from your current home insurance of business insurance coverage because it is outside the scope of what that property was originally intended to be used for. Find out before your haunted house opens, not after an accident.
Will you charge admission? If you charge people money to enter your haunted house, that may turn a community event into a business event. Your personal insurance rarely covers business activities, so it’s important to talk to your independent insurance agent to make sure you have the right insurance. You may decide not to charge admission or you may want to purchase a policy that covers business activities.
How will you handle injuries? When someone gets hurt or experiences property damage on your property, you’re responsible. For a haunted house, you’re going to need the right kind of liability coverage in case of a claim or a lawsuit later. You need special events coverage that’s designed specifically for bigger events with more people and more potential hazards.
Don’t let the fear of a high insurance premium stop you from protecting yourself. The cost of a new policy will depend, in large part, on the scare tactics and set-up of your haunted house. A mild or small haunted house will need a smaller policy than an elaborate or horror-filled event. The only way to know for sure is to talk to an independent insurance agent.
If you’re planning a haunted house, give us a call at 704-552-5888. We can make sure you have the coverage you need to protect yourself from the dangers of running a haunted house, so you can focus on the fun.