Your home insurance policy should cover lightning strike damage, which is a relief considering lightning damage resulted in over $1 billion in insured losses in 2021 alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute. 
Damage caused by lightning strikes is so expensive because they often lead to house fires that require full rebuilds. And lightning-caused power surges that fry appliances are becoming more costly due to delays in supply chains that have raised the cost of replacing these items.
Does homeowners insurance cover lightning strikes?
Home insurance covers lightning strike damage to your home, belongings, and other structures on your property. So if lightning strikes your house and it catches fire, your home insurance would cover the cost of repairs. Damage to your personal property will also be covered, like if the lightning causes a power surge that fries your television.
Here’s how your home and belongings are covered against lightning damage:
Dwelling coverage: Protects the structure of your home from lightning strikes, including if lightning strikes a tree on your property that then falls on your home.
Other structures coverage: Protects detached structures on your property, like a garage, gazebo, fence, or shed, from lightning damage.
Personal property coverage: Protects your belongings from lightning strike damage, including if lightning causes a fire that destroys your things or a power surge that fries your appliances.
Loss of use coverage: Reimburses you for hotel stays, restaurant meals, and other additional living expenses if you need to relocate temporarily while repairs are being made to your home due to lightning.
How do home insurance companies classify lightning damage?
Home insurance companies place lightning damage in three different categories, depending on the severity of the strike and how it damages your home:
Lightning strike: A direct lightning strike to your home or trees on your property can cause the most damage, including fire, roof damage, and power surges.
Near miss: Near miss strikes don’t directly hit your home or other structures on your property, and typically only cause minimal damage. It can be hard to prove near miss strikes to your insurance company, since it’s difficult to find the exact cause of damage if it didn’t strike your home directly.
Ground surge: Ground surges are when lightning strikes cause an electrical spike in a specific area and can lead to power surges. Again, these types of strikes can be difficult to pinpoint since it didn’t directly hit your property.
Top 10 states with the most lightning damage claims
Homeowners in Florida filed the most lightning damage claims in 2021, according to the Insurance Information Institute.  However, California had the most expensive lightning damage claims, totaling an estimated $522.6 million in insured losses in 2021.
Here are the top 10 states with the most lightning damage claims:
Should I file a lightning damage claim?
Whether you should file a lightning damage claim depends on how much the damage would cost to fix out of pocket — especially if you have a high deductible and healthy savings account.
This is because any time you file a home insurance claim, you run the risk of higher rates when you go to renew your policy. So if you have the financial means to pay for minimal damage to your home or belongings yourself, you might want to consider it.
Here’s a look at how much average annual rates change with a few popular insurers for homeowners who have a clean record versus those who've filed one claim:
Learn more >> Why do home insurance rates go up after a claim?
How to protect your home from lightning strikes and damage
Here are a few ways to prevent lightning strikes or minimize damage caused by them. These are highly recommended for homeowners who live in Florida, Texas, and other areas prone to hurricanes and thunderstorms.
Unplug your electronics ahead of a storm. Since lightning strikes are drawn to electric wiring, unplugging any electronics and appliances will prevent power surges that can fry your devices.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Lightning strikes can cause a house fire, so having a fire extinguisher on-hand can help prevent damage to your home and belongings.
Check your smoke detector regularly. This includes switching out batteries when they’re low — you should hear a beeping noise when this occurs, but don’t rely on that.
Install a lightning protection system. When lightning doesn’t have a specified path to follow, it’ll use any available path such as metal plumbing pipes, gas system lines, or electrical wiring. A lightning protection system creates a pathway specifically designed to your home’s architecture to guide the bolts safely into the ground.
Invest in surge protector devices. To prevent a power surge from frying your television, computer, and other valuable devices inside your home, you can install a surge protection device to protect them from a voltage surge.
3 tips to stay safe during a lightning and thunderstorm
Besides protecting your home, you should also take precautions to safeguard yourself from harm. Here are some steps to take in the event of a serious thunderstorm:
Stay indoors. And away from anything that could conduct electricity, including metal surfaces and anything served by gas lines or connected to your plumbing system.
Avoid seeking shelter under trees. Or lying flat on the ground or standing near tall, isolated towers — such as telephone poles — as these settings are the most susceptible to lightning strikes.
Survey your home after the storm. After the storm, check for fire in rooms above your smoke detectors, and inspect your utility rooms for issues with water, gas, and electricity.