Many community fireworks displays have been called off in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. That leaves more people trying their hand at shooting off fireworks in their backyard.  

While firework displays in backyard or neighborhood can be vibrant and fun, they can also be deadly. Let’s face it accidents happen. The harm fireworks cause can extend beyond bodily injury to property damage — and do a number on your home insurance rates if claims are made. 

With the Fourth of July upon us, it’s a good idea to understand how fireworks-related damage can cause damage to your home insurance. 

What happens if your house burns down due to fireworks?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks were responsible for an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018.  Of this, nearly 1,900 were structure fires and 500 were vehicle fires.

If you catch your home on fire, you’re covered for any property damage or destruction you may have caused to your home or even to the property of others – as long as it wasn’t intentional.

Your own home’s structural coverage will take care of claims for damage to your own home. Your homeowner’s liability coverage would take care of claims from neighbors or other’s whose property you damaged with the fireworks. For instance, the fireworkds damage was to your neighbor’s home instead of your own.

However, if possessing or setting off fireworks is illegal in your state, your insurance company may not cover the cost of any damage or injury. Fireworks are legal in 49 states, Massachusetts being the odd state out, but not all forms of fireworks are legal in each state.

Insurance doesn’t cover damage resulting from illegal acts. So, think twice about the fireworks you may buy out of state and shoot off at home where they aren’t legal.

What if you catch your car on fire with fireworks?

Don’t look to your home insurance to pay if your fire catches fire due to any of your firework or pyrotechnic devices. Fire damage to a vehicle would be covered under the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy. This is optional coverage, so if you have a liability-only auto insurance policy you’re out of luck.

While people across the country, and probably in your neighborhood, will have their own fireworks display, thousands will likely be injured as a result of fireworks on the Fourth of July. How dangerous are fireworks? 

Injuries from fireworks, what is covered?

Fireworks can cause a lot of injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 9,100 fireworks-related injuries were seen in emergency rooms in 2018 and five deaths. Burns account for most of the injuries and 36% of those seen were under the age of 15.

Those in the age range from 10 to 15 years old had the highest rate of firework injuries – so make certain to supervise children with fireworks, or just let them watch the adults and stay at a safe distance. Firecrackers caused 28% of the injuries, so don’t let these small devices fool you into thinking no harm can come to you.

A homeowners policy typically covers injuries under guest medical and then under liability coverage.

For example, if you accidentally injure your neighbor while setting off your fireworks, your home insurance policy should pay for medical expenses. Keep in mind home insurance coverage limits for no-fault medical expenses are usually fairly low. Depending on the policy, those limits range from $1,000 to $5,000 worth of coverage. This coverage typically kicks in if your injured neighbor or friend doesn’t have health insurance and seeks to recover his/her medical costs from you. And remember, you won’t be covered if the incident was intentional, such as you aimed for your neighbor.

If your neighbor sues you to recover medical costs an important part of your home insurance policy kicks in, your liability coverage. Your insurance company will generally pay for your legal defense.

However, if you burn yourself setting off fireworks, you won’t be covered by your home insurance – you’d have to seek coverage under your health insurance policy. If a neighbor comes over and injures himself when setting off some fireworks, he is covered. You are never covered under guest medical home insurance coverage, only those not living in your household who are accidentally injured on your property or by you.

Exceptions to firework home insurance claims

If you are manufacturing fireworks in your home and there’s an accident that injures someone, or causes property damage, you’re out of luck. Also, items that are illegal to possess aren’t covered if they are stolen or destroyed in a fire. If you deliberately aim a bottle rocket at your neighbor, your home insurance policy won’t cover any medical expenses because of the intentional nature of your act.

If you fail to comply with state laws and your fireworks handling is seen as an illegal act, then you can get a denial of claim from your home insurance company.

What if your home insurance limits are exceeded?

If damages you caused others, and that are paid out by your liability coverage, exceeds your limits than having an umbrella policy would be of great help.  Umbrella coverage can be used when the liability limits of your home (or auto) policy are exceeded.

How do firework claims affect your home insurance?

Let’s take a look at how filing a home insurance claim may affect your rates.

Avg. base premiumAvg. premium after claimDollar difference

1 fire claim




1 liability claim




1 medical claim




2 fire claims 


$2,059 $577

2 liability claims




2 medical claims




So, even if your home insurance covers your fireworks-related damage or injury, you’ll have to pay more for your insurance. One fire claim will push your rates on average of $273 annually. If it’s your second claim, you can expect to see the increase doubled. If it’s your third or more claim, your insurance company may look to drop you. 

Fireworks safety

If you’re planning to host a Fourth of July party that involves dazzling your friends and neighbors with fireworks, do a bit of research. First, make certain you are obeying local laws. Fireworks are not legal in every state. Second, be aware what your home insurance policy covers in the event of a fireworks-related accident. Most do, but every policy has its own exclusions so double-check yours.

Fireworks legality

To find out what’s permitted in your state, check the American Pyrotechnics Association Web site.

If you plan your own pyrotechnics display, here are a few safety tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety, American Pyrotechnics and the Insurance Information Institute.

  • Obey the law. Don’t use fireworks that are illegal in your state.
  • Keep your pets away from fireworks. Pets have sensitive hearing and the noise can hurt them.
  • Keep fireworks away from children. Every year children lose fingers in fireworks accidents, and even sparklers burn at up to 2,000 degrees, making them extremely dangerous for children.
  • Safety first. Be sure other adults and children are out of range before lighting fireworks. Never throw or point fireworks at others.
  • Always read and follow the directions for fireworks carefully.
  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Use a flat, hard surface like a driveway. Avoid lighting fireworks on grass or in containers.
  • Use an open area. An open area will present far fewer fire hazards. Keep children at least 30 feet away from where you are lighting the fireworks. Explain to children that fireworks are not toys and can cause the loss of fingers or hands.
  • Take it slow. Light only one at a time.
  • Wear eye protection. Don’t put any body part near a lit firework.
  • Don’t use malfunctioning items. Never attempt to relight a “dud.”
  • Have water close by. Have a fire extinguisher, hose, or bucket of water handy for emergencies. Drop used fireworks into a bucket of water.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”

Fireworks aren’t a toy, so always use with caution. If damage or injury results from use, read over your policy and make a claim but be aware it can lead to higher home insurance rates.

Don’t despair if your rates do rise, you can shop around and possibly find a homeowners insurer that doesn’t rate as harshly for claims. We can help you find the best home insurance companies if you’re in the market for a new home insurance provider.