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The typical American enjoys fireworks as they are fun ways for family and friends to enjoy various holidays, especially during the Fourth of July celebrations. While many people attend professionally produced fireworks shows sponsored by municipalities, numerous others enjoy the sights of a lovely backyard fireworks display.
However according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,500 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in 2021. If you’re planning to celebrate the holiday with anything that goes boom, sparkles, whizzes, or crackles, here’s what you should know about home insurance and fireworks.
What happens if your house burns down due to fireworks?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks are responsible for an estimated 19,500 fires and approximately 1,900 structure fires.
Homeowners insurance protects you against problems like house fires. However, there may be some complications depending on your state and the legality of fireworks. If you use legal fireworks in your state and have an accident, such as a house fire or an injury to a guest, you should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
If you use illegal pyrotechnics, your chances of getting insurance to cover expenses may go up in smoke.
What if your neighbor sets off fireworks and accidentally sets fire to your garage?
In this scenario, your neighbor’s house insurance would most likely cover your property damage under the liability component of the neighbor’s policy. You might also file a claim with your own home insurance.
In the case of illegal fireworks, your neighbor’s home insurance may deny them liability coverage. Your options would be to either file a claim with your own home insurance or sue your neighbor.
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Does homeowners insurance cover fire damage to a neighbor’s property?
Yes, but only if your state allows pyrotechnics.
While Massachusetts is the only state where fireworks are fully prohibited, some states, including Illinois and Vermont, have very tight fireworks restrictions. Each state has different fireworks rules about what types of fireworks are legal, so verify your local laws.
If fireworks are prohibited in your state, homeowners insurance will not cover the cost of restoring any damage. Some states need licenses to light off fireworks, and your homeowner’s insurance will only cover losses if you have the license.
However, in states where fireworks are legal, your home’s insurance policy will typically cover any unintentional damage to a neighbor’s property, which will pay out to repair your neighbor’s personal property. If your neighbor sues you for the damages, your policy will also cover legal fees.
Fireworks safety tips
Preventing problems before they arise is always more straightforward than trying to solve them after they occur. Here is some safety advice to keep in mind before setting off home fireworks during your Fourth of July celebration:
- Instead of hosting your own fireworks, consider attending public fireworks displays organized by professionals. These events are conducted with strict safety measures and are safer for enjoying fireworks.
- Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding fireworks in your area. Don’t buy illegal fireworks.
- If you decide to use fireworks at home, select a spacious, open area far away from any structures, vehicles, trees, or flammable materials. This minimizes the risk of fires spreading to your home.
- Pay attention to weather conditions, especially wind speed and direction. Avoid using fireworks during windy conditions as it can make them unpredictable and increase the chance of accidents.
- Always have a water source readily available, such as a hose or bucket of water, to extinguish any fires or accidents. Be prepared to react quickly if a fire breaks out.
- If a firework fails to ignite or fully detonate, do not attempt to relight it. Wait for at least 20 minutes, then soak it in water before disposing of it properly. Trying to relight a malfunctioning firework can lead to unexpected explosions and injuries.
- Keep children safe from fireworks and ensure they are under constant adult supervision. Teach them about the potential dangers of fireworks and explain why following safety rules is essential.
- Refrain from using alcohol or drugs while handling fireworks. These substances impair judgment and coordination, making accidents more likely.
- Carefully read and follow the instructions on the fireworks labels. Each firework has specific guidelines for safe usage, so it’s crucial to understand how to handle and light them properly.
- After using fireworks, dispose of them safely. Soak used fireworks in water overnight before placing them in a non-flammable outdoor trash can.
Related reading: Summer Safety Tips for the Pool to Help You Have the Best Parties
Home insurance and fireworks conclusion
Understanding the relationship between home insurance and fireworks is important. By reviewing your home insurance policy, you can ensure that you have adequate coverage in the event of a fire caused by fireworks or any other unforeseen circumstances. It is crucial to follow local laws and regulations regarding fireworks usage.
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Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko