Casual observers might liken the risk of being struck by lightning to winning the lottery. Homeowners, however, must look at the storm risk from a more cautious perspective. According to NetQuote, the annual number of claims for lightning-related homeowners' incidents can range from 185,000 to nearly 250,000, with losses charted at more than $1 billion. That's a shocking figure to consider, especially in areas that are prone to storms, with little protection overhead.
As we learned in elementary school, lightning strikes the highest point in its vicinity. Therefore, in flat areas of the country, the bolts of electricity don't discriminate between the homes they strike. Conductive materials, particularly metals, can be conduits for 100,000 volts of energy to destroy electric systems and start fires. The Insurance Information Institute reports that standard homeowners' policies cover lightning-related damages, though policy holders in vulnerable areas should familiarize themselves with their coverage.
"State Farm Insurance cautions consumers about the limitations of lightning policies," reports NetQuote. "For instance, you may not get fully repaid because of equipment deprecation or the cost of your deductible. And if utility work or some other non-lightning source causes the power surge, the damage may not be covered, or the coverage may be subject to significant limitations."
There are also several steps homeowners can take to minimize the damage caused by lightning before it strikes. When a major storm system arrives, unplugging valuable items and installing surge protectors can reduce the secondary damage caused by a power surge. Standard fireproofing procedures can mitigate the risk of lightning-related fires, and establishing a safety plan with your family, roommates or tenants can prevent an unanticipated disaster from striking.
As with any of the elements, a combination of insurance and good housekeeping can protect your home from avoidable damage.