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Private liability
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Tips on handling fireworks safely

Fireworks are indeed nice to look at but they can have devastating consequences if not handled properly. Read here about what precautions to take and which insurance can protect you if something still goes wrong.

28 July 2021, text: Sarah Büchel, photo: iStock

Sparks fly out of a firework rocket. In the background, we can see the night sky illuminated by fireworks.
A beautiful sight and a fire hazard: A firework rocket can briefly generate temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius.

Huge quantities of fireworks are shot into the sky every year in Switzerland. Every year, 250 people on average are injured – not including children and adolescents. This is compounded by five million Swiss francs' worth of property damage to spoil the festive mood.

Better safe than sorry

To avoid having to deal with a claim from the outset, we advise taking the following precautions:

  • Read the instructions on the firework
  • Always light your fireworks at the correct safety distance from buildings, animals and people
  • Light fireworks on a stable surface
  • Have extinguishers ready to hand
  • Keep children away
  • Do not smoke
  • Never relight duds and do not approach them for ten minutes

If, in spite of all your precautions, something does catch fire or there is damage, the following normally applies: The person who lights the firework is liable for the damage.

Liability insurance is essential

With private liability insurance you can protect yourself against the financial consequences if you cause injury to another person or damage his/her property. In principle, damage is covered by the buildings, car, household contents or accident insurance of the injured party. However, the insurer will seek recourse against the persons causing the damage. As a result, their liability insurance policy will pay the costs incurred and protect them from some substantial financial consequences. Private liability insurance is therefore one of the most important insurance policies for private individuals.

Reductions in the event of gross negligence

If you don't follow the precautions listed here, you run the risk that the insurance company will classify the incident as gross negligence and will reduce your benefits. If you deliberately cause damage, the insurance will refuse to pay anything at all. This is the case, for example, when someone aims a firework deliberately at a building or a person.

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