Fireworks are always an enjoyable way to celebrate Canada Day. While many people go to municipally-sponsored firework displays put on by professionals, many prefer the sights and sounds of a good backyard firework show.
However, while putting on a backyard show, sometimes things can go wrong and accidents can happen. The key is to be cautious and prepared, and part of that preparation is making sure that you have sufficient home insurance to cover any problems that can result from the use of fireworks.
Potential problems with fireworks
Fireworks are highly dangerous explosives, and if not used safely, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, including:
1. Damage to your home
A simple misdirected flare can result in your home catching on fire. In most cases, damage to your home is covered under your homeowner’s insurance, but it’s best to confirm this with your insurance agent or broker prior to setting off your fireworks.
2. Damage to adjacent properties
There is also potential for one of your fireworks to go off course and cause damage to a neighbouring home or structure. And, if that neighbour decides to sue for damages, you will need to have third party liability coverage. This coverage is typically included in your homeowner, tenant or condo insurance policy; however, you may want to check in with your insurer to decide if it is a sufficient amount.
Unfortunately, every year people are injured as a result of fireworks mishaps. Many are minor injuries, but at times they can be serious. If someone is injured during your fireworks show, you can be sued. Home insurance liability coverage is the best way to guarantee yourself financial protection. Again, it’s worth checking to see if you have sufficient coverage if planning to host a backyard show.
Are fireworks banned in your province or town?
If fireworks are banned in your province or town, it's possible no amount of insurance will help if something goes wrong. If you go on with the show, you’re taking a risk as most home insurance policies won’t cover damages that stem from an illegal activity. Reach out to your local authorities and your home insurance provider to ensure you’re covered before setting the sky ablaze.
Fireworks safety tips
As with most things in life, prevention is easier than trying to fix the problem after the fact. When you decide to put on a home fireworks display, you should keep the following safety tips in mind:
- Never allow children to play with or set off fireworks.
- Thoroughly read and understand all instructions before handling fireworks.
- Keep guests away from the lighting area.
- Do not light a firework unless it is on the ground and light only one at a time.
- Never try to re-light a firework if it goes out. If it’s a dud, wait half an hour and then immerse it in water.
- If your hair is long, tie it back. Wear protective glasses and well-fitted clothing. And never lean over a firework as you’re lighting it.
- Make sure you have a water supply close by to put out a fire if necessary.
- If you’re impaired (alcohol or drugs), do not handle fireworks.
- Never smoke around fireworks.
If you have any doubts or questions about your insurance coverage with regard to home fireworks displays, contact your insurance agent or broker. Your insurance professional can answer specific questions about your coverage and make recommendations to keep you financially protected in case anything goes wrong.