Are Fireworks Worth the Risk?

 June 27, 2019     UFG Insurance    Personal 

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Is that red glare coming from a patriotic rocket? Or is it a catastrophic fire caused by a firework set off at home?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, July 4th has more reported fires than any other day of the year, with two of every five structural fires blamed on fireworks.

Your home is one of your most valuable assets – the center of your family’s life and the depository of your favorite memories. Before you set off fireworks at home, it’s important to understand the risks involved, including whether or not a potential loss would be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

Sorry for Your Loss

Potential insurance claims related to a fireworks incident fall into two main categories: injury or property damage.

Injury
Accidents happen – that’s why you have insurance! An accidental injury to a guest on your property may be covered under the medical payments section of your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Injuries to yourself, or family members that are residents of the property in question, would not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Instead, these would be covered by your health insurance.

Insurance is there to protect in case of accidents, but isn’t an excuse to behave badly! Intentional injuries are not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. If you start a bottle rocket war with your next-door neighbor, then the burns suffered by a human target will not be covered. The same goes for other bodily injuries. Intentionally engaging in risky behavior puts lives and your financial future at risk.

Property Damage
A firework may be done sparkling, but it can still spark a dangerous incident. A stray ember can ignite the branches of a tree, and if that tree touches your roof, your home could become a fiery blaze in no time at all. Fortunately, this kind of accidental fire is likely covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

If you are setting off fireworks on your property, and this causes an incident on another person’s property – like a misfired item damaging a car in the driveway next door – then it will not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. However, if you have an additional liability insurance policy, this may cover damages for such an incident.

Important Steps

The Law Won
You can try and fight the law, of course – but the law usually wins. And this is definitely the case with homeowner’s insurance. If fireworks are illegal in your state or city, then you will not be covered in the event of a loss. Illegal activities almost always lead to the denial of a claim.

Not sure if fireworks are legal in your state? Check out this handy guide to fireworks laws, provided by the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Free Agents
You should execute your own due diligence, but we also recommend contacting your insurance agent to double-check your coverage. A phone call or an email costs a lot less than paying for fireworks damages out-of-pocket.

Pro Tip
If fireworks are legal in your location, the easiest way to insulate yourself from potential damages is to hire a professional to administer your backyard fireworks display. Their professional insurance should cover any potential damages.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

If fireworks are legal and you feel that your homeowner’s insurance is adequate to protect you in the case of an accident, remember these basic safety tips:

  • Keep fireworks away from pets and children. There is no such thing as a completely safe firework. Even a seemingly innocent sparkler burns at up to 2,000 degrees.
  • Follow directions – they’re for your safety.
  • Never point fireworks at people.
  • Never use fireworks indoors.
  • Light fireworks on a flat hard surface in an open area, like a driveway without overhead tree coverage.
  • Light one firework at a time so you can monitor their behavior and address any emergency situations.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Keep water easily accessible in case of a fire.

Flame Out

If you are acting in accordance with the law and not intentionally trying to injure a person or property, you may be insulated from the massive damages that result from a fireworks incident. However, you’ll only be covered up to the limits of your insurance policy. That’s why it’s important to talk with your agent before you engage in any risky behavior. And if you don’t have an agent yet, this is the time to get a home insurance quote. You need a clear understanding of the stakes of your decisions, so you can make informed choices about your actions and celebrate in the way that best suits you!


The information provided is for informational purposes only. Every attempt is made to ensure that the information is accurate; however, it is not intended to replace professional advice. For more information, see Disclaimers & Other Legal Documents.