Before The Fireworks Begin, Check Your Insurance Policy First

June 27, 2012

The Fourth of July is an American tradition that should be celebrated and enjoyed. Most Americans have fond memories of neighborhood block parties or trips to the beach. Just think of grilling out, family and friends, lots of red, white, and blue, and of course...fireworks, says Frank N. Darras, the nation's top insurance lawyer.

It used to be that fireworks could be found in every grocery store parking lot and there was no such thing as "a too dangerous firework". Today, that is simply not the case. In many cities in California, fireworks are illegal.

If fireworks aren't illegal, you might want to stop and think about what would happen if Johnny shot a Mega Blast that ended up through the window. Each year, Americans cause 20 million dollars' worth of property damage and 7,000 people are rushed to the emergency room because of fireworks, says Darras.

"If fireworks are legal in your city, any property damage or injuries caused by using them should be covered under a home insurance policy, as long as the act was unintentional. However, it never hurts to double check before showing off to the neighbors just how high the bottle rocket you bought can go," says Darras,

The circumstances of the incident can determine what is covered and how much is covered. Insurers may also have different definitions of "unintentional". If a person blatantly disregards common sense safety measures, plan on the insurance company fighting the claim.

It's also a good time to check who the policy covers. Make sure that if someone is injured on your property, the homeowner's policy will cover their medical expenses. If the policy doesn't offer coverage, ensure no one is around the lighting area and keep bystanders a safe distance away, says Darras.

"Each incident is different, but be aware of any potential threats, both to individuals and property. For example, think about the disaster waiting to happen if a loose cannon lands in a leaf-filled gutter. Be sure to check your policy to make sure there is adequate coverage if an accident does occur," says Darras.

If the plan is to enjoy the long weekend away from home, make sure to check all insurance policies before leaving town. Holidays are notorious for accidents and even more so on the Fourth. Adding fireworks and watercraft to the mix of alcohol and celebration is an accident waiting to happen. Checking insurance policies for your home, watercraft, and automobile will allow you a relaxing, worry-free holiday, says Darras.