will-my-homeowners-insurance-cover-a-fireworks-claimSummer means backyard barbeques, water sports, and, for many people, fireworks. Whether it’s a Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day celebration, or simply a fun (yet dangerous) way to spend an evening, the sound of fireworks is common on summer nights.

Before you start planning your own celebration that will include fireworks, review your homeowners policy with your insurance agent. In many states, purchasing fireworks for personal use is illegal, which means that your policy will not protect you in the event of damage to your property, damage to someone else’s property, or injuries as a result of the fireworks.

If you absolutely must put on a fireworks display, consider hiring a professional service to run the show. These services are best equipped to manage a show safely and they have the proper insurance protection in case an accident does occur.

What if my home is damaged by someone else’s fireworks?

If you own a home on a country club, in a high-rise condo building, or anywhere else where you can view a professional fireworks show from your backyard or deck, you have protection should a disastrous situation occur. If the fireworks show gets out of hand and causes a fire, smoke damage, or injury to your guests, your homeowners insurance policy will likely cover you. Review your policy to be sure you have the protection you need, such as replacement cost coverage for your personal property and home, adequate liability coverage to protect your assets, and an umbrella policy.

You may also be able to collect damages directly from the company that is responsible for the fireworks show gone awry without involving your own policy—provided the company is reputable and has its own liability coverage. However, using your homeowners policy may be less time consuming and can offer faster results because your insurance company can seek reimbursement from the negligent party on your behalf and deal with the details for you.

Heidi Petschauer Fox graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., in 1983 with a B.S. in management. She joined her late father’s firm, Petschauer Insurance, in 1982, became principal in 1995, and now shares ownership with her partner and cousin, Erwin Petschauer. She received her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 1997. She currently facilitates the professional and creative development of the entire Petschauer team and manages the personal lines and social media departments.