Florida residents who have stockpiled vast quantities of explosives to celebrate their independence this 4th of July could in for a different kind of bombshell—that they may not be covered by their homeowners’ insurance if a friend or neighbor is injured by their fireworks.
Fireworks are Actually Illegal in Florida
That’s because in Florida, it is actually illegal for private individuals to use exploding fireworks (including shells and mortars, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, rockets and firecrackers) for recreational purposes without a permit. In fact, sparklers are the only form of fireworks that are legal to buy and use.
You’re probably wondering how it is possible for all of the illegal types of fireworks to be bought and sold at major retailers like Target and Walmart as well as roadside stands throughout the state.
The answer lies in an obscure loophole in Section 791.07, Florida Statutes. This exception to the fireworks ban allows them if used “solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.” Sellers of the contraband therefore require that all buyers of fireworks sign a form stating they fall under an agricultural, fisheries or other exemption to cover themselves. These waivers will not protect buyers if they intend to use the fireworks to impress their friends and neighbors at their Independence Day picnic—that’s fraud and also illegal.
Insurance Does Not Cover Injuries or Damage from Illegal Acts
Which brings us back to the homeowners’ insurance. If your next door neighbor sets off a rocket and you suffer serious burns when it explodes, your neighbor’s insurance will likely not cover your injuries. That is because most insurance policies exclude coverage for illegal acts (such as setting off fireworks for recreational purposes without a permit). Of course, you may still be able to recover from your neighbor personally.
For more information on Ahava Law Group and your potential personal injury case, please call us at (727) 362-1234 in Pinellas, (813) 626-1234 in Hillsborough, or email Info@AhavaLawGroup.com.