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Chambers of Horror
01-31-2008, 03:44 PM
Hey Everyone,

I'm new here and new to pro haunting. I'll be opening my first pro Haunt this coming Oct in So. CA., so I will be asking lots of questions, but one of the one's I need help with right now is liability insurance. Are there any companies that specialize in covering haunts? Other then general liability is there any special coverage that a haunt should have will have to have?

Thanks

Daniel

Dr Spooktakular
01-31-2008, 10:12 PM
Hey Chambers, this will be my first year to open a haunt. I read every HW Mag, every H.A.M. mag, Fright Times Mag I could find. Also purchased the entire HW DVD series and McCurdy video series. All these info. areas have been very helpful with hundreds of ideas, but the one thing I would suggest over anything else is the Want to be a Hauntrepeneur Book, it will answer every business side question and then some. Good luck dude!!

Dr Spooktakular
01-31-2008, 10:17 PM
here's the website, www.eurekascreams.com
Kelly Allen is the writers name, he knows his business stuff, go to the store on his website and order his book, or pose a question to him here or on the haunted attraction forum, kelly responds all the time and adds very informative posts, it's usually posted by Raycliff Manor.

ZIPPY
01-31-2008, 11:58 PM
Attend Transworld and Hauntcon. Hauntcon is smaller and great for a beginner. Worth the drive to Houston this year. At least one or two specialty insurance brokers will attend Transworld. (Allied is one) They tend to be rather expensive, compared to rates quoted by your local commercial broker, but it's a one phone call start. You need a special policy - not just general liability. Many will charge a fee based on customer count. They will request an initial estimated attendance, with the right to audit your records later. Other insurance companies will request an estimate, then just charge a flate rate. No policy is ever written for less than a $500.00 sign up fee. The range might be $500. to $2500. for a six week event with no history. (just guessing) State laws control insurance rates almost everywhere. You must also consider workers comp. Employees are not covered by most base policies. Recap: Three policies -a general liability policy (w/ some contents coverage) will last all year. Customer liability for those attending the haunt while open. Workers comp.
You should incorporate to shield you from personal liability, in case of a disaster coupled with a cruel lawyer. Most quality lawyers will not pursue a "small time case" and ruin and individual, especially if there is substantial insurance. The corporation creates a barrier that is difficult to pierce, if correctly formed.
Lastly and most important. Have a solid, complete business plan. Do not open a commercial haunt just because you love Halloween. It is a risky business, if you are under-funded or disorganized. Open a haunt because you have a plan to make money with a dark attraction. It is more work than most can imagine. You must delegate projects and work well with large groups of people. The first year, if you can't get close to breaking even, paying yourself minimum wage, while paying all your bills, actors, props, rent, build out, lots of advertising and insurance, reconsider. Haunted house owners rarely see other haunts. They work in October, and almost all year preparing for the next season. Have you considered software like Quickbooks, or your pending payroll and accounting complications? How many Drills will you buy this year (they fall from ladders and break...) Did I mention lots of advertising, insurance and a great First Aid kit? Good luck and Happy Haunting!

TheCareTaker
02-01-2008, 10:31 AM
C of H i just ordered the book i will bring it over for you to check out when it arives. i will be droping the business plan info buy tonight sorry it took me a day longer than i thought i have just been swamped at work and tired of working to boot. i will be by later tonight and i will see you saturday

Nightmaretony
02-01-2008, 12:03 PM
Some other books that may help.

The JBCorn book series.
Field of Screams by Michael Cruz. HAM sells it.
Castle Blood has a book for small attractions for advertising.

Chambers of Horror
02-01-2008, 01:36 PM
Thanks everyone. I do have most of those books, mags, & DVD's and collecting more. I don't remember any of those listing names of insurance companies, but that might have just been because I was more focused on other info that I knew I needed sooner. I only checked a couple of local companies and they either didn't cover haunts or they didn't know, so I figured I would just ask on here for specific companies that some of you have already researched, dealt with and found to have better prices and service.

I am going to Transworld and planning on HauntCon as well. I am looking at this as a busines and not just a hobby. I plan to have laser tag in the building year round and have found (what I feel) is a good location that meets the requirments a haunt would need and has tons of traffic of mid teens to adults.

Right now I am working on our business plan, budget and porposals and cost for insurance is one of the figures that I'm missing so far.

Zippy, thanks for the info and figures, that gives me a great place to start. and thanks to everyone for their input and suggestions!