Shoppers at Krazy Kaplans

A shopper hoists fireworks over to his shopping cart at Krazy Kaplans in Hammond.

Local ordinances restricting fireworks use seem to be about as meaningful this time of year as the paper remnants of exploded firecrackers blowing down the street at twilight.

But while police are unlikely to nab someone for celebrating America's birthday early, it's a different story for insurance companies should a misdirected bottle rocket land on a roof and start a fire or if an errant jumping jack injures a bystander.

The Indiana Department of Insurance is reminding Hoosiers that their homeowners or renters insurance may not cover damage caused by a policyholder's illegal behavior, which can include using fireworks outside the days and hours set by local officials.

"It's important for Hoosiers to consider the consequences before using fireworks," said Stephen Robertson, Indiana insurance commissioner. "If someone using fireworks accidentally starts a fire, to their own property or that of their neighbors, they may not be able to turn to their insurance company for coverage."

According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, 61.3% of reported fireworks injuries during 2017 occurred on private property, where the owner could be liable for medical payments or other damages.

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Nearly every city and town throughout the Region bans the use of fireworks in their community year-round, except for the 12 days that state law dictates all legal consumer fireworks must be permitted during certain hours.

Those are Independence Day, between 10 a.m. and midnight; the five days before (June 29-July 3) and the five days after (July 5-9) Independence Day, between 5 p.m. and two hours past sunset; and between 10 a.m. on New Year's Eve and 1 a.m. Jan. 1.

Individuals in Northwest Indiana using fireworks outside those days and hours may be fined $100 to $500 for a first violation, and up to $2,500 for subsequent violations, depending on where they live.

In addition, illegal fireworks use that causes property damage is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a maximum $5,000 fine.

Illegal fireworks use that causes serious bodily injury or death is a felony with a potential punishment of up to six years in state prison and a $10,000 fine, according to the Indiana Code.

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