The number of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims has decreased over the past few years, yet the average cost per claim has increased, according to Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) findings.
“It’s not surprising that lightning-related homeowners insurance claims costs have risen,” said James Lynch, chief actuary and senior vice president of Research and Education at the Triple-I. “Homes are more susceptible to lightning damage because electronic systems have become more interconnected – think Smart Homes – which have an easy gateway to much of a home’s electronic network, damaging scores of devices and appliances at once.”
Triple-I found that:
- More than $920 million in lightning claims were paid out in 2019, up from $909 million in 2018
- There were 76,860 lightning claims in 2019 down from 77,898 in 2018
- The cumulative value of claims caused by lightning rose 1.2 percent between 2018 and 2019 and 0.4 percent from 2017-2019
- The average cost that insurers paid on lightning-related claims increased by 11 percent between 2017 and 2019, and by 2.6 percent from 2018 to 2019.
Florida – the state with the most thunderstorms— was the top state for lightning claims in 2019, with 6,821, followed by Texas (5,780) and California (5,100). Of the states with largest number of claims, Texas had the highest average cost per claim at $15,278.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Some policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike, which can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.
In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, the Triple-I and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a national organization that promotes lightning protection education, awareness and safety, encourage homeowners to install a lightning protection system in their home.
“When it comes to lightning, safety and liability are two important factors,” said Tim Harger, executive director of LPI. “The safest place in any lightning event is within a structure protected by a properly designed, inspected and certified lightning protection system. Lightning protection systems protect the electronic infrastructure, core and knock-on functions of properties and can significantly reduce the more than $900 million of insured claims.”
To locate an LPI-certified lightning protection system installer in your area, click here.
U.S. lightning fatalities have also been declining, due partly to increased awareness of lightning danger.
To learn more about lightning safety click here.