Fireworks & Insurance Coverage: Are you prepared?
As we gear up to celebrate our nation’s birthday this 4th of July, I’m sure many of you are preparing for great cookouts, cold beverages and of course… a nighttime fireworks show. Some of my favorite summer memories are sitting with my cousins on the beach watching the fireworks up and down the coast.
While consumer fireworks are still illegal in Massachusetts, almost every other state allows the sale and use of some type of non-aerial explosive fireworks, like sparklers or bottle rockets.
If there is an accident on the 4th of July, will your homeowner’s policy cover the fireworks injuries and damage?
The simple answer is yes… UNLESS the fireworks are illegal where you live (most policies exclude damage resulting from illegal acts) or the injury was intentional. If fireworks accidentally set fire to leaves in your gutter, a section of your home insurance policy for fire incidents could cover the damage. Also, if fireworks malfunction and injure a friend on your property, it could be covered under a section for medical payments to others. Likewise, a section on liability payments could cover your fireworks accidentally shooting into your neighbor’s house and breaking a window.
But if you get into a bottle-rocket war and injure a friend, you may not be covered because the incident was intentional. If you injure yourself, you also may not be covered because you cannot file a liability claim against your own policy. Your health insurance would likely have to kick in.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), the most injured body parts are:
• 36%: Hand or finger
• 19%: Head, face and ear
• 19%: Eye
• 11%: Trunk or other
• 10%: Leg
• 5%: Arm
NFPA says that July 4th has the highest number of fire reports all year nationwide. More than half of the injuries sustained are burns. Which makes sense once you learn that a single sparkler can reach up to 1,200 degrees! That’s hotter than wood burning, water boiling and glass melting. And, these little heat sticks are often given to, and handled by, small children because they are considered “safer”.
Because each policy provides different types of protections and different payment limits, please contact your agent for the details on your coverage before you start setting off any fireworks. But, even if you do understand the ins and outs of your home insurance policy and are sure you’re covered, the best way to avoid a problem, and possible claim, is to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals.
Each year, thousands of people are injured by fireworks and some are even killed. Your insurance coverage would likely be the last thing on your mind if you accidentally burned down a neighbor’s house or severely injured a friend or family member while trying to celebrate.
So be smart. Celebrate, but do it with some common sense! From all of us at EA Boniakowski Insurance Group, we wish you a Happy (and safe!) 4th of July.