Lightning Damage Claims Increase While Average Losses Decrease

July 31, 2017

In 2016, the number of home insurance claims following electrical surges and lightning strikes rose from the previous year's numbers. While the total claim toll increased, the average amount paid per claim decreased. This means that the overall severity of such incidents was lower. This finding came from a recent report published by the Insurance Information Institute.

Researchers said that the total amount paid out in claims from lightning strikes or electrical surges was $825 million in 2016. There were more than 100,000 policyholders who received money for damages. Not all claims were eligible for payment. The total number of paid and unpaid claims was almost 110,000. The claim number increase was less than 10 percent from the previous two years, and the overall loss per claim decreased by more than 10 percent in comparison with data from 2007. Researchers said that over 50 percent of the claims cited electrical surge damage. Also, transformer power surges were commonly cited as causes of major damages. Lightning-related claims were most common in the South. Florida led the nation with the most lightning damage claims, and Texas, Georgia and Louisiana followed.

A standard home insurance policy covers damages caused by lightning or a fire after an electrical surge. In many cases, the electrical wiring catches fire after a power surge with or without lightning. Some home insurance policies include coverage specifically for damages following a lightning strike. Appliances, computers, phone systems, electrical foundations, electronics and electrical fixtures are usually included in such policies. 

Although the safety awareness week for lightning takes place each June, the Insurance Information Institute and the Lightning Protection Institute work together all year to remind homeowners across the nation to install adequate lightning protection systems in their homes. People in Southern states face higher risks. However, lightning can strike and cause severe damages anywhere. 

With a lightning protection system in place, dangerous currents are directed away from valuable fixtures and appliances. Lightning protection systems include a special conductor path that harnesses and grounds lightning strikes. Lightning produces super-charged currents of electricity. Experts recommend systems that are compliant with NFPA guidelines. Insurers also recommend the use of these valuable protection systems, and they can provide suggestions for where to find a reliable system. To learn more about protecting property from lightning strikes and electrical surges, speak with an agent.

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