Does insurance cover Bonfire Night damage?
Everybody knows the risks of hosting your very own Bonfire Night party – fireworks are dangerous, after all, and can cause serious harm if not handled correctly – both to the body and the surrounding environment.
Accidents happen and it isn’t unheard of for people’s homes, cars and other property to be damaged at the hands of fireworks – but does insurance cover firework damage?
Can fireworks damage a house? How many house fires are caused by fireworks?
Yes, fireworks can cause serious damage to a property.
The root of hundreds of fires each year, fireworks are an extreme fire hazard and have the potential to cause damage to surrounding properties if not handled with caution.
A direct hit from a firework could also cause property damage, with several cases occurring every year of wrongly-placed rockets smashing through windows and breaking roof tiles.
Luckily, if you have home insurance, any damage sustained should be covered under the accidental damage section of your policy.
Remember, if there are any signs that the damage sustained by your property was done so with intent, your home insurance might not pay out.
Bonfire Night is a popular time for burglaries, with many people failing to lock their doors and windows as they gaze into the night sky. If your home is targeted without the need for forced entry, there is every chance that your home insurance will refuse to payout.
If leaving your home even for a few short minutes, make sure that you remember to lock your doors and windows!
What if somebody gets injured?
More than 6,500 people are injured by fireworks in the UK every single year, with November 5th (and 6th) regularly one of the busiest days in A&E clinics across the country.
If somebody is injured by a fire, firework or even by tripping over a wonky paving slab while at your home then you could find yourself liable.
The personal liability cover on your home insurance will likely cover any medical expenses faced by your guest, but make sure that you fully understand the terms of your policy – it could potentially feature exclusions related to the consumption of alcohol or could be deemed invalid if your guests had paid for entry to your private party (even if the money was for a fundraiser, or towards the costs of equipment).
If you plan on hosting a large event, you may want to consider taking out specialist event insurance.
Can fireworks damage your car?
Just as fireworks can cause damage to a property, there is also potential for your cars (and any other vehicles in the surrounding area) to become damaged on Bonfire Night.
This is most commonly paintwork damage caused by a direct hit or the red-hot remains of an exploded firework, but can still be costly to repair.
Some car insurance policies will offer to cover the cost of paintwork repair, but it is rarely advised that you take them up on this – you would have to pay your pre-determined insurance excess fee and could be at risk of losing your no-claims discount, meaning that your future premiums could rise.
Price up how much it would cost to get the damage repaired privately before contacting your insurance company, as this is likely to be a cheaper option in the long run.
If your car was damaged by fireworks set off by a neighbour then you are not liable, but might be covered by their home insurance if they have personal liability cover.
Firework laws UK
If you are preparing to set off fireworks yourself instead of attending a professional display, there are a few important laws that you need to consider:
- The cut-off point for fireworks on Bonfire Night is midnight (11pm on other days, excluding New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year)
- You must be 18+ to purchase fireworks
- Only category 2 and category 3 fireworks can be set off by the general public. Category 4 fireworks are for professional use only.
- Fireworks (including sparklers) should not be thrown on the street or any other public places
There is a maximum £5,000 fine for breaking firework-related laws, with a potential on-the-spot fine of up to £90.
Some local councils set their own, individual laws regarding fireworks – if you’d like to know more then you should contact your local council.
Firework safety tips
Aside from the obvious, here are a few tips to ensure that you and any guests are kept safe this November 5th:
- Check the labels – ensure that your fireworks feature a CE marking
- Follow instructions – your fireworks should come with a tailored guide
- Wear appropriate clothing – particularly if you’re the one setting off the fireworks
- Store safely – wrap any leftover fireworks in plastic bags or storage boxes, outside the house
- Keep naked flames away – this includes cigarettes