Do Haunted Attractions Need Insurance?

A haunted attraction in Orlando, Florida. A haunted house with a red hue, meant to signify the need for haunted attraction insurance.What’s scarier than witches, ghouls, and ghosts? Having someone become injured at your haunted attraction without the right protections in place. Many thrill-seekers come out this time of year, but if they’re not careful, they can encounter the wrong type of scare. The same is true for those in charge of performing the scares. If you plan to host a frightening evening for guests, make sure you know whether your haunted attraction needs insurance and the steps you can take to keep everyone involved safe and having fun.

Haunted Attractions and the Assumption of Risk

When visitors enter a haunted house, they’re taking on what’s known in the industry as an “assumed risk.” This legal term states that guests cannot sue for damages if they willfully expose themselves to a known risk. In this case, the operator of the attraction cannot be sued for “fear-based injuries,” like panic or heart attacks or tripping and falling when fleeing a costumed actor. However, if your guest’s injuries were the result of a hazard that is not reasonably expected, the haunted attraction operator can be found negligent and responsible for compensation, even if the visitor signed a waiver upon entering.

What Insurance Does a Haunted Attraction Require?

To protect your haunted operation, a customized liability insurance policy is your best bet. Some carriers offer temporary haunted attraction policies. This insurance covers high-limit liability, which ensures you’re protected in the event a guest is injured from an unforeseen accident. Most rentable venues will require you to have liability coverage. As you will be operating your attraction on their premises, they don’t want to have to deal with pursuing you for restitution should something go awry. Workers’ compensation is also required to cover lost wages and medical costs if your employees become injured.

How Can You Mitigate Haunted Attraction Hazards?

It can be difficult to find the right balance between the appearance of danger and actual danger. One misstep, and you can find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. As such, let’s look at some best practices to follow to keep your guests safe:

  • Remove Tripping Hazards: Ensure all extension cords, uneven flooring, and loose mats are removed or secured.
  • Provide Lightning Near Potential Hazards: If a part of your attraction could present a possible hazard, make sure it’s properly lit. This is especially important when it comes to the drive-through haunted attractions.
  • Clearly Mark Exits: In the event of an accident, you need to provide your patrons ample opportunity to escape the premises.
  • Flammable Decorations: Decorations and props must be in line with the local fire code. All fire alarms and extinguishers should also be visible and easily seen.

You should have a waiver form, and it should also be properly constructed. While it will not protect you from all liability, release agreements can sometimes result in lawsuit dismissal. They also provide proof for an assumption-of-risk defense.

Investing in the right haunted attraction insurance for your operation can ensure the scares are limited to those within your attraction. As the host of a haunted house, you’re responsible for the risks of those who enter and those in charge of the scares. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents can ensure your operation is covered by the right liability coverage and workers’ compensation. If you’re planning on running a haunted house this Halloween, contact us today, and we’ll make sure your holiday is a scream.