Thunderstorms are one of the most common natural hazards in the United States, with about 100,000 thunderstorms recorded per year nationwide. Here’s what homeowners need to know about the statistics surrounding thunderstorms in the U.S.
Thunderstorms are a regular occurrence in many states, but that doesn’t mean they can’t result in serious property damage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, thunderstorms caused around $27 million in property damage in 2019 alone.
Thunderstorms can also go hand-in-hand with other costly and dangerous natural hazards, like tornadoes, hail storms, and lighting strikes. We broke down the facts and figures surrounding thunderstorms nationwide so homeowners can know what to look out for, and what they need to do to ensure they’re protected.
$30 billion - The amount the insurance industry paid in property claims for thunderstorms from 2009 to 2011
$20,300 million - Total insured losses due to thunderstorms in 2019
16 million - Estimated number of thunderstorms that take place globally per year
2,000 - Number of lightning strike injuries in Florida over the last 50 years, the state with the most lightning strike injuries on record
10% - Percentage of thunderstorms in the U.S. per year that are classified as severe
30 - Average number of minutes a thunderstorm lasts
26 - Average number of fatalities due to lightning strikes in the U.S. from 2010 to 2019
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Some states experience far more thunderstorms than others, specifically states in the southeastern region of the country. Florida experiences the most thunderstorms by far, with some areas of the state experiencing more than 105 “thunder days” per year.
Thunderstorms also frequently take place in other states along the Gulf Coast, with Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama all experiencing 50 to 100 days worth of thunderstorms per year. The warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast make these states more vulnerable to thunderstorms, as well as hurricanes and tropical storms.
States in the Southwestern region of the country, like New Mexico and Colorado, also experience their fair shares of thunderstorms, with parts of each state experiencing 50 to 80 thunder days per year. Midwestern and East Coast states experience similar amounts of thunderstorms, with different states in both regions experiencing anywhere from 20 to 60 thunder days a year. Thunderstorms are less common along the Western Coast of the U.S., with California and Oregon only experiencing around 10 to 20 thunder days each year.
Homeowners insurance does cover damage from thunderstorms, as well as lighting strikes, tornadoes, and hail storms. Homeowners insurance exists to protect your home, personal property, and assets from risks like home break-ins, fire, and bad weather.
If your home or personal property are damaged by a thunderstorm, or any of the hazards that typically occur with one, like lightning or hail, your homeowners insurance can help pay to replace or repair your damaged property. If a thunder and lightning storm results in a fire, your homeowners insurance would also cover the damage
However, if a thunderstorm results in rain damage, your homeowners insurance may cover it, but only if you can prove that the thunderstorm was the direct cause for the rain getting in. For example, if a thunderstorm brings in strong winds and damages your roof leading to rain getting in, then you would be covered. But if you have an existing hole in your roof, or if it’s aging and rain seeps in during a thunderstorm, you might not be covered for any water damage.
Although homeowners insurance does cover you from thunderstorm damage, there are proactive steps you can take to properly secure your home from the risk of severe thunderstorms.
If you live in an area that is prone to lightning and thunderstorms, you may want to consider installing a lightning protection system and surge protector devices. A lightning protection system can redirect lightning into the ground instead of it flowing through your home’s gas system or electrical wiring.
It’s also smart to keep your roof well maintained to avoid severe damage. You may want to consider installing storm resistant shutters, windows, and doors as well. By taking these proactive steps to safely fortify your home, your insurance company may actually give you a discount on your premiums - most insurers offer safety measures and new roof discounts.