Lightning Awareness - Property Damage

Tips to protect your home and belongings from lightning damage:

  • Traditional electric cords do not shield electronics and appliances from power surges. Use UL-approved surge protectors to power up expensive electronics. Or, unplug televisions, computers, etc. to prevent them from being zapped by lightning.
  • Consider installing a whole-house surge protector that includes lightning rods or air terminals, down conductors and a ground wire network.

If you have lightning-related property damage:

  • Traditional homeowners policies typically cover these types of losses.
  • Limitations may apply if power surge damage comes from man-made electricity (power lines and transformers) versus lightning.

Policyholders should review homeowners insurance policies annually to verify coverage for lightning-related damage and confirm adequate insurance is in place before a loss occurs. Be sure dwelling coverage is in line with the home's replacement cost. Replacement cost is the amount to rebuild the structure with similar materials. A room-by-room personal property inventory is helpful to evaluate personal property insurance needs. Describe each belonging and include year, make, model, serial number, receipts, photos and appraisals whenever possible. Look for policy limitations and exclusions affecting coverage and loss settlements. For example, most policies cover structural losses on a replacement cost basis, meaning no reduction for depreciation. Contents claims, on the other hand, are resolved on an actual cash basis. This means age, along with wear and tear affect the settlement. Discuss coverage concerns with a local property insurance agent. Insurers offer a variety of buy-back endorsements that tailor policies to individual needs.