Updated September 7, 20214 min read
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Homeowners insurance protects your home from different types of damage, including damage from lightning strikes. That means 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.
Keep in mind that when you file a claim you run the risk of higher rates when you go to renew your policy, so it may be worth considering how much the damage would cost to fix out-of-pocket if it’s less severe. You should also take preventative measures to help avoid lightning damaging your property.
Homeowners insurance can cover different types of damage caused by lightning, such as fire, fallen trees, and power surges, up to your coverage limits
If a lightning strike fries your appliances or belongings, like your refrigerator or TV, home insurance can help pay to repair or replace them
To minimize lightning damage, you may want to install lightning protection systems and surge protector devices
Homeowners insurance covers different types of damage caused by lightning, which is typically considered a covered peril on your policy. Below are the different categories of a standard home policy and how each one protects your property from lightning strikes.
Dwelling coverage protects the structure of your home. If your home is struck by lighting and it results in a fire, your dwelling coverage can help pay to rebuild it.
Other structures coverage protects detached structures on your property, like a detached garage. This type of coverage will also protect your gazebo, fence, or shed if damaged by lightning strikes.
Your personal property is also covered by homeowners insurance. If a lightning strike results in a power surge that fries your appliances, like your TV or refrigerator, home insurance can help pay to replace them. If the power surge leads to spoiled food in your fridge, home insurance may offer a limited amount of coverage for food replacement, too.
Loss of use coverage reimburses you for any additional living expenses if you need to relocate temporarily while repairs are being made to your home. That includes any extra living expenses you might incur while your home is unlivable, including meals at a restaurant if you have to eat out more, or reimbursement for laundry services if you can’t use your own washing machine.
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There are a few different ways lightning can damage your home. Below are some common types of lightning damage and how home insurance can help with each.
This is the most straightforward type of lightning strike — the kind that directly hits your home. This can cause fires, roof damage, and power surges. As mentioned, home insurance does cover lightning damage to your home.
Close call or near-miss strikes don’t directly hit your home or other structures on your property. Near miss lightning strikes usually 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 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. To protect your appliances from getting fried by different causes of power surge, you may want to consider adding equipment breakdown coverage to your policy. Equipment breakdown coverage is an optional add-on, or endorsement, that you can add to your policy. It provides protection to your appliances and household systems from different types of electrical failure, like ground surges, that may not always be covered by a base policy.
→ Learn more about equipment breakdown coverage here.
If lightning strikes a tree on your property and it falls on your roof, home insurance can help pay for both the roof damage and the removal of the tree. If it simply falls in your yard, home insurance will likely still pay to remove it since lightning strikes are a covered peril in your policy.
Below are the steps you should take when filing a claim for lightning damage.
Take photos and videos of the damage as evidence
Be prepared to supply the insurance company with information about the property you’re claiming a loss on, like the estimated cost of belongings that were damaged.
Contact your insurance company to file a claim and secure coverage for the damage. You may need to pay a deductible before your insurer can pay the rest, which is the out of pocket money you’re responsible for before insurance kicks in.
Make temporary repairs if necessary while you wait for the claims process to be completed. Save any receipts or evidence of payment so you can be reimbursed by your homeowners insurance company.
Prepare for the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster inspects the damage to your home, either in person or remotely, and evaluates whether or not your policy will cover the cost of repairs.
Obtain repair or rebuild estimates from contractors in your area. Having your own estimates from licensed contractors can be useful in the event you find that your insurance company's initial reimbursement offer is too low.
Receive the claim payout and proceed with repairs. If you have a mortgage on your home, the insurance company will send out two checks, one to your lender and one to you. The lender will typically put this money into an escrow account and release the payments as the repairs are completed.
You can use your homeowners insurance to file a claim after lightning has caused damage to your property, but there are also some things you can do to prevent or at least minimize the damage in the first place. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes and thunderstorms, you should install a lightning protection system and surge protector devices.
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. To prevent a power surge from frying your television, computer, and other valuable tech inside your home, you can install a surge protection device to protect your electronic devices from a voltage surge.
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 lying flat on the ground, seeking shelter under trees, and standing near tall, isolated towers such as a telephone pole, as those settings are the most susceptible to lightning strikes
After the storm, check for fire in rooms above your smoke detectors, and inspect your utility rooms for issues with water, gas, and electricity
If your car insurance contains comprehensive coverage then your car is protected against lightning strikes. Comprehensive coverage is optional and protects your vehicle against weather-related damage and theft.
If you believe your home was struck by lightning, you should make sure nothing is on fire. Also check your light switches, outlets, circuit breakers. If you believe your home’s electrical system was damaged, contact a local electrician to come assess your home.