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Lightning-related home-owner insurance coverage claims fall, prices rise

The number of lightning-related insurance claims by US homeowners has decreased in recent years, but the average cost per claim has increased, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

"It is not surprising that the cost of homeowner insurance claims related to lightning has increased," said James Lynch, senior actuary and senior vice president of research and education for Triple-I. "Homes are more prone to lightning damage because electronic systems are more interconnected – think smart homes – that have a simple gateway to much of a home's electronic network and damage multiple devices at the same time."

Triple-I found this:

  • Lightning claims totaling more than $ 920 million were paid in 2019, compared to $ 909 million in 2018
  • There were 76,860 lightning damages in 2019 compared to 77,898 in 2018
  • The cumulative value of lightning-related damage increased by 1.2 percent between 2018 and 2019 and by 0.4 percent between 2017 and 2019
  • The average cost insurers paid for lightning-related damage increased 11 percent between 2017 and 2019, and 2.6 percent between 2018 and 2019.

Florida – the state with the most thunderstorms – was the state with the highest lightning damage in 2019 with 6,821, followed by Texas (5,780) and California (5,100). Of the states with the highest number of claims, Texas had the highest average cost per claim at $ 15,278.

Insurance coverage for homeowners

Damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is included in standard homeowner insurance. Some guidelines provide protection against voltage spikes that are the direct result of a lightning strike and can cause serious damage to equipment, electronics, computers and devices, telephone systems, electrical equipment, and the electrical foundation of a home.

In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week from June 21st to 27th, the Triple-I and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a national organization that promotes education, awareness and safety for lightning protection, encourage homeowners to have a lightning protection system in their home to install .

"When it comes to lightning, safety and liability are two important factors," said Tim Harger, Executive Director of LPI. “The safest place for any lightning event is a structure that is protected by a properly designed, tested, and certified lightning protection system. Lightning protection systems protect the electronic infrastructure as well as the core and start-up functions of real estate and can significantly reduce the insured claims of more than $ 900 million. "

Click here to find an LPI certified lightning protection system installer near you.

The number of fatal lightning strikes in the United States has also decreased, partly due to increased awareness of the risk of lightning strikes.

To learn more about lightning safety, click here.

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