Department of Insurance Warns Damage From Fireworks May Not Be Covered By Insurance

(UNDATED) – Even though many Independence Day celebrations have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of fireworks in communities across the state is tradition to celebrate the holiday.

The Indiana Department of Insurance is warning Hoosier homeowners and renters that accidental damage caused by fireworks that are banned in their counties may not be covered by their homeowners or renters insurance policies.

Many insurance policies contain provisions disclaiming coverage for illegal acts committed by the insured. However, consumers who experience property damage due to another person’s use of fireworks may be able to claim benefits under their homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

“It’s important for Hoosiers to consider the consequences before using fireworks,” said IDOI Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson. “If someone using fireworks accidentally starts a fire, to their own property or that of their neighbors, they may not be able to turn to their insurance company for coverage.”

In 2018, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Annual Fireworks Report, 62 percent of all reported firework injuries occurred from June 22-July 22. There were an estimated 9,100 fireworks injuries treated at hospital emergency departments nationwide in 2018 – 36 percent of fireworks injuries were to children younger than 15 years old. About 45 percent of fireworks injuries were burns.

The following are laws governing fireworks in the Hoosier state, and many towns and cities have additional ordinances that Hoosiers must follow:

  • Fireworks can be purchased only by persons 18 years of age or older.
  • Fireworks may be used:
    • on the user’s personal property;
    • on the property of someone who has consented to the use of fireworks on that property;
    • a location designated specifically for the use of consumer fireworks.
  • Consumer fireworks may be used only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on most days that are not holidays, but this may be limited further by local ordinances – check with local officials.
  • On holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve), fireworks may be used between 9 a.m. and midnight. (You should check first with local officials.)
  • The times on the following dates are protected in Indiana for consumer use of fireworks and may not be prohibited by local ordinance:
    • June 29 to July 3: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset;
    • July 4: from 10 a.m. to midnight;
    • July 5 to July 9: from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset; and
    • December 31: from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

About the Indiana Department of Insurance

The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) protects Indiana’s insurance consumers by monitoring and regulating the financial strengths and market conduct activities of insurance companies and agents. The IDOI monitors insurance companies and agents for compliance with state laws to protect consumers and to offer them the best array of insurance products available. The IDOI also assists Hoosiers with insurance questions and provides guidance in understanding how insurance policies work.