For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2021
Plan a Safe, Claim-Free Fourth of July
By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
Family, friends and fireworks—they all make the Fourth of July an exciting holiday for us. Unfortunately, it’s considered the most dangerous day of the year. More than 45,000 people visit U.S. hospital emergency rooms for treatment of injuries during the Independence Day weekend.
If you’re planning a big bang to celebrate Independence Day, make sure your party doesn’t go bust. Independence Day fireworks account for two out of five reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire each year. So, it’s important to know what your insurance will and won’t cover if there’s an accident. Here are the top four insurance claims to avoid and how to stay safe this holiday weekend.
- Fireworks Injuries
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), thousands of injuries and a handful of fatalities result from amateur fireworks explosions each year. Any injuries caused by fireworks to yourself or your family will likely be covered under your health insurance. In addition, your homeowners insurance would cover any injuries caused to someone else. Usually, the liability will pay that person’s medical bills and legal expenses up to the policy’s limits. Always check with your insurance agent to understand your policy coverage.
- Fireworks Damage to Home
While most people know fireworks can be unsafe, many assume homeowners insurance will cover any damage they cause. There are always exceptions. Fireworks are illegal in most towns and cities in Oklahoma, so you need to check if your policy excludes fireworks-related coverage. Homeowners’ policies typically exclude damages caused by illegal activities and may exclude coverage for fireworks completely. Check with your insurer to see if you are adequately covered for liability and damage to your home resulting from the use of fireworks.
- Auto Accidents
Car accidents account for the second most frequent cause of Fourth of July deaths and injuries. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has deemed it as the deadliest day to drive for the year. Moreover, the National Safety Council estimates that as many as 481 people may die on the road this Independence Day weekend, with up to 54,800 more suffering serious injuries.
- Boating Accidents
The Fourth of July is one of the busiest and deadliest times of the summer boating season. Every year, there are around 8,000 boating accidents. Common accidents occur by intoxicated drivers shooting off fireworks from their boats or boat docks. In most cases, homeowners policies only offer minimal boat coverage. Contact your insurance agent or company to ensure your boat insurance policy is up to date.
The best way to prevent fireworks-related damages is to attend a public display. However, if you cannot resist celebrating with your own fireworks, remember these safety tips to avoid potential fire damage and injury. Celebrate Freedom this Fourth of July…Safely!
For more insurance information, please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.