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Does insurance cover fireworks damage?
Light up the sky knowing when your insurance policy will cover unexpected fireworks accidents.
Fireworks are an innate part of America’s celebrations, set off for holidays from July 4th to New Year’s Day. But as entertaining as they are, fireworks can turn dangerous when nonprofessionals use them at home. To make matters worse, fireworks aren’t legal in all locations, and not every type of policy covers damage caused by fireworks.
Is fireworks damage covered by insurance?
Your policy should pay for fireworks damage if someone else injures you or damages your property. But you could see important exclusions on your home, renters or life insurance policies.
Your home insurance might cover damage from at-home displays under certain circumstances, but that depends on your insurance company. Don’t assume you have coverage — check your policy exclusions or call your insurance company before lighting up the show.
One instance when firework damage should be covered is when someone else causes it. Your policy should cover damage to your home if your neighbor set off the fireworks, whether or not fireworks are banned in your area.
When are fireworks not covered by home insurance?
Understanding some important exclusions could save you thousands of dollars in home and liability damage. Fireworks damage may not be covered if:
- You set off illegal fireworks in your area or there’s a drought ban. Some local areas ban all fireworks, specific types of fireworks or displays during dry weather. You probably won’t be covered for damage to your home or for liability if you set off illegal fireworks.
- You set off fireworks with an intent to damage. Insurance companies don’t shoulder expenses if you intended to damage property or injure someone, such as a prank involving setting off fireworks in someone’s car.
- Fireworks are excluded on your policy. Every insurance company lists its own set of exclusions. If home fireworks shows make that list, any fireworks you set off won’t be covered for damage.
The same rules apply to fireworks coverage on renters insurance as they do for home policies. You’re unlikely to be covered if you cause intentional damage or if you set off fireworks despite local bans.
That can mean your renters insurance won’t cover your belongings, injuries to people or your landlord’s or neighbor’s property damage. If fireworks aren’t banned, coverage depends on your renters insurance company and any named exclusions it specifies.
If your car is hit by fireworks set off by someone else or someone shoots them off inside your car, the damage is likely covered under comprehensive coverage. This coverage is optional, so you’d need to opt for it on your policy before the damage takes place. But check with your insurance company if you’re planning to shoot off fireworks yourself and are worried your car might not be covered, since this can be a gray area for some insurers.
If a fireworks show nearby goes wrong and sets fire to your business, your property and the goods inside should be protected by your commercial property insurance. However, you’ll need a business interruption add-on if the property damage leads to lost income or days of business closure.
If your business is putting on a fireworks show, you’ll need to check what your general liability and commercial property insurance covers. If your current policies exclude this risk or you want to customize the coverage and spread out risk, consider a fireworks insurance policy coupled with event insurance.
Life insurance pays out for a broad range of reasons, including accidents from cars or fireworks. So if you die from fireworks injuries, your beneficiaries should receive the full payout. That should include dying while shooting off the fireworks yourself. However, most policies exclude coverage for crimes, so the death benefit might be denied if you shoot fireworks illegally.
Also, life insurance companies may consider whether you handle fireworks on a regular basis, such as for your job, when you apply for a policy. The company may charge you a higher premium based on the additional risk.
How can I make sure fireworks damage is covered by my insurance?
You can take a few paths for peace of mind while putting on your fiery show:
- Make sure your current insurance covers fireworks. Ask your insurance company how it covers property damage or injuries from fireworks. Review your home or renters, car, umbrella or business insurance policies, based on your location and potential types of damage.
- Buy fireworks insurance. A few companies specialize in covering fireworks displays, including for at-home shows. For example, the company Xinsurance offers fireworks liability coverage for businesses and home displays. Look for companies that offer specialty lines or commercial insurance and customize the coverage to your needs.
Which states ban fireworks and deny insurance coverage?
All but four states allow most types of fireworks, and only one state bans it entirely. However, local counties or cities can ban or limit firework displays as well. Check your state and local laws just in case.
States where fireworks are banned or limited:
- Massachusetts — All fireworks banned
- Illinois — Only specific fireworks allowed, like sparklers
- Ohio — Only specific fireworks allowed
- Vermont — Only specific fireworks allowed
What should I do if fireworks damage my property?
If you experience or cause damage from fireworks, take care of injuries first and then document for claims as a secondary priority.
- Call for medical help. Call an ambulance or make sure anyone injured receives medical attention.
- Exchange contact details with other people involved. Exchange your name, phone number and insurance policy number with the other people who caused or received fireworks damage. Each insurance company may need to get involved to iron out the at-fault person and which policies will cover damage.
- Take photos of the property damaged. Take pictures on your phone or camera as physical evidence for the insurance claim.
- Gather details about the damaged property. Compile details about the items damaged, such as the product number, make, model and value. An inventory list prepared ahead of time makes this step an easy one. Otherwise, you’ll need to do a bit of research.
- Keep receipts for expenses. If you or your neighbor have to make immediate repairs, replace items or stay in a hotel, keep all receipts in case you qualify for reimbursement from insurance.
How do I file a claim for fireworks damage?
The process for filing a claim looks similar to other home or specialty property claims. But if the insurance for the person who caused the damage won’t pay up, you might have to file under your own policy.
Steps to take when filing a fireworks damage claim:
- Start the claim online or by phone. File against the at-fault person’s insurance first, then see whether your policy covers expenses that were excluded on that person’s policy.
- Submit proof of damage. Attach photos, receipts or product information to your claim, or send them when the claims adjuster requests these documents.
- Wait for the claim adjuster’s response. A claims adjuster may interview you for specific details about how the fireworks damage happened. The adjuster will let you know next steps.
- View the settlement offer. Once the claim gets approved, the adjuster will send an official letter offering you a dollar amount to settle the claim.
- Accept or reject an offer. You have the option to reject the first offer if it doesn’t cover your expenses or pay fairly for replacement items. Even if the offer totals less than you expected, it may still be a fair offer if it factors in depreciation.
- Settle the claim. Sign the paperwork to accept a settlement. Then, receive your payout within a few days or weeks, depending on the insurance company’s claims process and the extent of the damage.
How much will fireworks damage cost to repair out of pocket?
You could find yourself on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars if your insurance doesn’t cover fireworks damage.
Fireworks can cause injuries to people, leading to high-dollar liability cases that require a lawyer and court trial. In other worst-case scenarios, fireworks can set homes on fire and cause extensive environmental damage.
While another person’s insurance may pay for their home damage, you could risk uncovered damage to your home or being underinsured for liability cases. It’s important to understand how your insurance treats fireworks damage and get proper coverage if you’re bent on shooting off fireworks for the holidays.
How to stay safe using fireworks at home
It’s worth looking up firework safety tips from reputable organizations like the National Safety Council before the big show. That way, you can surround your home and loved ones with dazzling sparks without worry.
A few tips to get you started:
- Ignite fireworks in an open space. Keep firecrackers away from people, houses or trees when lighting them.
- Don’t light up fireworks after drinking alcohol. The person handling the pyrotechnics needs full control of decision-making abilities to keep everyone safe.
- Don’t reignite ones that aren’t working properly. Malfunctioning fireworks can be culprits for injuries or damage, so accept defects as a warning to dispose of the firework.
- Douse fireworks in water before trashing them. Before you light anything up, have a bucket of water handy. After shooting your rockets or finding a faulty firework, let the fireworks soak in water to cool them down, leaving no chance of igniting in a trash can.
Keep your enthusiasm for seeing the sky sparkle, but without letting your guard down on protecting yourself and others from fireworks damage. Since fireworks can lead to extensive damage or injuries, make sure you have an insurance policy that fully covers them.
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