For Immediate Release:
July 1, 2020
Celebrate Independence Day Without an Insurance Claim
By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
For many Oklahomans, Independence Day means celebrating with a cookout, fireworks, road trips and boating. Independence Day reminds us each year of our country’s beginning and the freedoms we enjoy. The annual holiday allows us to spend more time with those we love, but it may also raise the risk of filing an insurance claim. As many cities and towns have canceled or postponed their Fourth of July events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of having a claim significantly increases if you plan on hosting your own celebration. Before you go shopping for sparklers and bottle rockets, here are some safety tips:
- Fireworks Injury
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 250 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. Setting off fireworks not only puts your property and neighbors’ homes in danger, but it could also cause serious bodily harm or injury if not handled properly. According to the CPSC, more than 19,500 fires are started each year by fireworks and 7,300 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in July 2019.
- Local Rules
It is important to remember fireworks are dangerous and should only be used by someone who has a permit and the proper training. Setting off fireworks is illegal without a permit in most major towns and cities in Oklahoma. Due to drought conditions this year in Oklahoma, fireworks are prohibited in many areas along with other forms of outdoor burning. Follow local ordinances and contact your city or county officials if you have questions regarding the use of fireworks in your area.
- Insurance Coverage
If you get hurt while setting off fireworks on your property, your homeowners insurance should cover your injuries. Any fireworks injuries to yourself or your family will likely be covered under your health insurance. Your homeowners policy steps in when fireworks injure someone else. Specifically, the liability portion of it usually will pay that person’s medical bills as well as legal expenses up to the limits of the policy. This all depends on local rules and your policy; always check with your insurance agent or company and review your policy.
Though the idea of a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks lighting up the sky might be disappointing, be sure to check your city’s website and social media for the celebration information around your area. Remember, before you dust off the fireworks, make sure to understand what your insurance will and won’t cover if there’s an accident.
Celebrate Freedom this Fourth of July…Safely!
If you have questions about other insurance issues, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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