Lightning strikes have been known to destroy appliances and expensive electronics, as well as cause home fires and injury to occupants. In 2014, lightning damage claims totaled $739 million — with the average cost for each around $7,400. Should your home ever bear the brunt of Jupiter's ire, it's important to know how home insurance can step in to help.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover lightning strikes and resulting fires or explosions. For instance, dwelling and other structures protection extend coverages to the home and unattached structures respectively. Likewise, personal property insurance helps replace damaged appliances, furniture, electronics, and more. Plus, if lightning damage renders your home uninhabitable, additional living expense coverage could help cover temporary living costs.
In addition to home fires and scorched turf, though, lightning strikes are sometimes responsible for power surges — a sudden spike in electricity that can damage expensive electronics in the blink of an eye. And luckily, most homeowners insurance companies, including Esurance, offer financial protection against power surge damage.
why lightning damage can be so expensive
Lightning strikes — especially when they result in a power surge — can easily overwhelm conductive materials like wires, cables, phone lines, and even plumbing and ductwork. The abrupt jolt in electricity has been known to destroy motherboards in expensive computers, vanquish hard drives, and cause fires or explosions.
What makes homes in this day and age even more susceptible to lightning damage is the fact that electronic systems have become more compact and interconnected. In other words, one conductive item may present an easy gateway to much of the home's electronic network, damaging a multitude of devices and appliances in one fell swoop.
how to protect your house from lightning strikes
Although there's no guaranteed way to ensure a building is completely lightning proof, there are steps you can take that go a long way toward safeguarding your home, family, and belongings from a lightning strike. Here are some useful lightning safety tips to consider:
Install a lightning protection system
The main purpose of a lightning protection system is to guard the building and anyone inside if lightning strikes directly — an effort achieved by safely guiding lightning to the ground. Lightning rods, or air terminals, divert the lightning strike, where it's carried by conductor cables to the ground rods, thus completing a safe path for the lightning to travel.
It's important to note that these systems don't attract lightning, nor do they provide surge protection for sensitive appliances and electronics. They do, however, offer protection against fires and structural damage.
Install surge protectors
Surge protection, on the other hand, does help protect sensitive electronics. If the diversion of current exceeds safe levels, the surge suppression system can absorb excess currents, which will protect the TVs, cable boxes, and computers that are plugged into it.
Exercise precaution before the storm
If you hear a clap of thunder in the distance, go inside immediately. Any electronics that aren't protected by a surge protector should be unplugged. Avoid using the phone, shower, sink, or bath during the storm.
According to the Lightning Protection Institute, home fires stemming from lightning strikes are more common during the summer months. Peak seasons for this kind of peril may vary depending on your region.
Take inventory of all your possessions
If you have to file a lightning damage claim for certain belongings, it's important to have a list of all your possessions already on hand for reimbursement. So take photos, make videos, and gather purchase receipts for all of your personal belongings — especially big ticket items like your prized flat screen. To err on the side of caution, make triplicates of your records in case they're destroyed or lost. It'll save you a lot of time and headache, and help ensure a faster claims process.
make sure you’re protected against lightning strikes and more with esurance home insurance
One of the many great things about an Esurance homeowners policy is the ability to file a lightning insurance claim with our 24/7 claims reps. But coverage and perks don't just end there. When you get your fast, free homeowners insurance quote today, be sure to check out all of our other standard coverage options that help safeguard your possessions, personal liability, and financial future.
Plus, we offer a wide variety of money-saving discounts designed to keep your rates lowered. If you'd like to speak with a human being, don't hesitate to give us a call at 1-866-439-5633, where our licensed agents are available at these times to answer any of your insurance questions.
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