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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Lightning Damage?

Homeowners insurance will cover lightning damage. However, there are things to take note. Many policies can cater to cover personal property losses. These losses include damages from lightning strikes to valuable items like electronics. Remember, the coverage will only secure personal properties up to the limits listed in the policy.

As per the Insurance Information Institute, one common claim in 2014 is personal property damage from lightning. Lightning strikes caused about $30 million in damages during that year. With that in mind, most home insurance can cover the costs to repair or replace damage to a property’s electrical components. These items may include electrical tubes and transistors. Homeowners security plans may also include coverage regarding damages from power surges caused by lightning to appliances and other electronic gadgets.

A 2014 report from Science magazine shows there are about 25 million lightning strikes per year. It’s always advisable for households to prepare for any possible damage or destruction that may occur. In the event that lightning strikes a property, proper insurance policies can help cover the costs of repairs and replacements for damaged or destroyed equipment.

Lightning insurance provides coverage for several incidents, including:

Personal property

Insurance firms consider things like appliances, furniture, electronics, and other tangible possessions as personal properties. To get a standard lightning strike insurance claim means getting monetary help in the form of actual cash value. Many insurance companies offer coverage for about 50 to 70 percent of the value of the items.

There are policies that provide options to replace goods should items become too damaged beyond repair. Most home insurance won’t recognize motorized vehicles, animals, and things that fly or hover as personal properties.

Certain living expenses

A homeowners insurance policy can cover about 20 percent of costs (as seen from the dwelling’s value) from damages or destructions caused by lightning when repairing or rebuilding a home.

Certain structures around the property

Insurance plans may also cover additional structures found around the homeowner’s property like a garage or tool shed. Plans would often cover about 20 percent of the dwelling’s value when filing for a claim to repair or replace these establishments.

How insurance companies see and treat lightning damage

Effective Coverage defines lightning as, “an electrical discharge between clouds, or between clouds and the ground.” The National Lightning Safety Institute defines a direct lightning strike to be within 10 meters from the strike zone. Statistics show there’s one out of every 200 homes that get struck by lightning per year. However, most insurance companies define lightning strikes as a near-miss or ground surge.

Near-miss lightning strikes do not directly hit the structure. It may also mean that the property is outside the 10-meter radius of the strike zone. Many near-miss strikes incur minimal damage to the property. However, it’s often difficult for insurance companies to see the extent of the damages since the center of the strike zone may be far from the home.

A ground or power surge takes place when lightning strikes cause a significant spike in electrical currents in a given area. These instances are also the most common claims for home insurance regarding lightning hits. It can sometimes be difficult to acquire claims for power surges since it’s often difficult to prove.

Will insurance companies give coverage if lightning hit a tree that damaged my electronics?

It’s possible for a homeowners insurance claim when lightning hit a tree which may damage electronics in the property. Still, there may be limitations regarding the maximum amount the insurer pays for the damaged items.

List all the damaged electronics when a lightning strike or ground surge. For instance, if lightning strikes damages a TV, then put as much detail as possible of the extent of the damage. The TV might only require minor repairs but a computer might need parts replacement. Also, don’t forget to include outlets and doorbells in said list.

To make filing for home insurance claims easier, it’s best to show proof of ownership of the electronics. It may include receipts or legally binding documents. Last, don’t waste time reporting the damages to an insurance company. The longer the delay, the more difficult it is for insurers to approve the claim.

What are preventive measures to stay safe from lightning strikes?

The Scott Lynch Agency provides statistics regarding lightning strikes in the US. Their blog shows that lightning strikes caused an average of 22,600 fires per year during the years 2007 to 2011 as per the National Fire Protection Association. Despite chances being very slim, there’s still a slim possibility that lightning may come crashing down to a property.

There are preventive measures household owners can take to ensure minimal damage from lightning strikes. Start by turning off or removing all electrical equipment from power outlets. Do these steps if nearby lightning or thunderstorm is about to hit.

Homeowners can also invest in lightning protection systems. These pieces of equipment are even more essential to lightning prone areas like Florida and Texas. Surge arresters are also great choices as these tools will help prevent surges from entering the home.

Don’t just think about the electrical equipment during a lightning storm. Once thunder roars in the distance, don’t go outside. It’s best to take shelter in a fully enclosed building during a storm. Avoid dangerous locations and known hazards in the area. These locations include areas with plenty of moist surfaces like golf courses and high objects.

If it’s difficult to find a nearby establishment or enclosed property, take shelter in a low area like a cave or tunnel. A hard-topped vehicle is also a good choice to serve as protection from lightning storms. Also, stay away from areas with large bodies of water like beaches, lakes, and rivers.

Remember, homeowners insurance companies provide higher chances for the approval of claims if the policyholder isn’t a liability. Installing lightning preventive equipment in the property can help provide peace of mind to homeowners and insurance firms.