When Lightning Strikes Insurance Can Cover Shocking Damage Costs
- Homeowners Insurance Articles
- When lightning strikes, insurance can cover shocking damage costs
According to Nationwide Insurance, 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes occur every year in the United States. Each lightning strike carries 100,000 volts or more and can spark significant damage, even miles from the point of impact. Power surges caused by power fluctuations from a utility company or from overloaded electrical panels also can exact a shocking cost on your home or business.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners filed more than 185,000 lightning strike-related claims in 2009. The average claim totaled nearly $4,300, and lightning claims cost nearly $800 million. The 2008 numbers were actually higher: more than 246,000 claims and more than $1 billion in losses.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Power Surge Damage
There are a few instances where your homeowners insurance company may not cover damage due to a power surge.
The power surge occurred due to general negligence
Your home has been vacant for over 60 days
The power surge occurred due to maintenance issues
As we mentioned before, some insurance companies will not cover artificially generated electrical damage to tubes, transistors, or electronics that are part of appliances or fixtures in your home.
Power Outage Insurance Claims
Your home insurance may cover spoiled food after a power outage, depending on the type of event. For example, some insurers will cover food that spoils from a power outage due to a problem covered by your policy, such as a lightning strike. But your policy wont cover spoiled food if you accidentally knock out your power while renovating your home.
Food spoilage is covered up to a certain limit. For example, your policy might offer up to $500 for spoilage. A deductible will also apply to the claim. So if you have a $500 deductible and $400 in food spoilage, you would not be reimbursed.
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Earthquakes Mudslides And Sinkholes
If you live in an earthquake-prone area, consider buying earthquake insurance and sinkhole insurance coverage. Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies don’t cover earthquakes, mudslides and sinkholes. These disasters can significantly damage the structure of a home’s foundation, walls, furniture and belongings.
In the Golden State, the California Earthquake Authority offers earthquake coverage to residents.
Although standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover earthquake damage, they may cover electrical fires caused by earthquakes.
A Lawyer Can Fight For The Compensation You Deserve
When you pay premiums each month on a homeowners insurance contract, you expect the policy to be there for you when you are in need, including having your homeowners insurance cover lightning damage to electronics. After Mother Nature claims some of your personal belongings, dealing with an uncooperative insurance company can be discouraging.
A lawyer can assist you in your pursuit of compensation by:
- Filing the required paperwork to set your claim in motion
- Investigating the circumstances of the lightning strike to demonstrate the extent of damage
- Assembling a case for compensation
- Estimating the value of your damaged electronic items
- Protecting you against bad faith insurance practices
According to the Insurance Information Institute , Florida has the highest rate of lightning-related damages than any other state in the U.S. In 2018, the average claim caused by a lightning strike was $11,668.
If you have been denied for a property claim due to lightning damage to electronics, you could be taking a substantial loss. You should not have to pay out-of-pocket for damages that are covered by your insurance policy.
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The Claim After The Storm
Stephen Blower recalls clearly what time his house was struck by lightning because his clock stopped at exactly 7.26 on the Friday morning in June when it happened.
‘There was a horrific thunderstorm outside when my wife Victoria and I were getting ready to go to work,’ he says. ‘I was in the shower when I heard an almighty crash and I honestly thought a plane had landed on our house. All the lights exploded and then all the electrical equipment blew up.’
A bolt of lightning had hit the Blower’s aerial, blasting a four-foot hole in the roof then it travelled through the house burning out all the electrical sockets and wiring. It then escaped through the BT cable destroying the telegraph pole outside and taking everyone’s phone lines out with it. Blower, 37, who lives with his wife and two children in Walsall, went deaf in one ear for a fortnight and the family lost 37 electrical appliances including four TVs, hi-fi equipment, computers, and the vacuum cleaner.
The Blowers are by no means the only ones to have had their home and its contents blasted by the elements. Last week the Cornish village of Boscastle officially reopened a year after it was almost wiped out by flash floods, while last month a tornado damaged cars and property in Birmingham. The Association of British Insurers says that there has been a big rise in claims over the last few years relating to extreme weather.
What to do in an electric storm
Best For Military Families: Usaa
If you or a family member are connected with the U.S. Military, USAA is an excellent home insurance option. For one, the company is an all-around solid insurer: affordable homeowners insurance rates , strong customer service and excellent financial stability.
But what really sets USAA apart for soldiers and their families are the military-specific coverages it offers. For example, USAA waives your homeowners insurance deductible on your uniform while you’re on active duty. And while most home insurance companies don’t cover your property in warzones, USAA does.
Besides insurance, USAA offers a wide range of well-regarded financial products, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards and loans. So people in the military may find USAA to be a convenient one-stop shop for their financial needs.
The main downside to USAA is that it’s not open to everyone. The company only serves members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the families of current or former USAA members.
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Surge And Damage To Electronics
Electrical surges caused by lightning using a homes electrical wiring as a primary or secondary path to grounding can wreak havoc on connected electrical appliances. Even if the lightning strike is primarily grounded through other means, the surge in the electrical system can cause significant damage.
Theres so much more valuable electronic equipment in homes today, says Bud VanSickle, executive director of the Lightning Protection Institute. The loss from lightning can be tremendous.
A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover damage to personal property including electronics and appliances resulting from covered events, such as a lightning strike. However, the insurance will only cover up to the limits of your policy. Given the increase of expensive electronics in homes, it is important to check with your insurance agent to ensure the limit in your policy is set high enough.
Creating a full inventory of personal items before disaster strikes can ease the process of making a claim, as well as help to clarify if you have enough insurance or not.
A standard homeowners insurance policy will reimburse for actual cash value, which is what you would pay for a similar item now, minus depreciation. If you live in an area prone to lightning strikes, it could be worth considering taking the option of replacement cost coverage. This type of coverage pays out what it would cost to replace your personal possessions.
Highest Risk: Special Flood Hazard Areas
Special Flood Hazard Areas are deemed to have a 25% chance of flooding at least once within 30 years the full term for most mortgages. The federal government mandates that each residence in an SFHA with a federally insured mortgage be protected by an active flood insurance policy.
It is the lender’s duty to ensure that all borrowers within an SFHA purchase flood insurance. Even if you aren’t in an SFHA, a lender might still require you to have a flood insurance policy in order to lower the risk of losing its collateral on the loan.
Coastlines are a good example of a location where SFHAs are very common. Hurricanes and tropical storms frequently flood coastal regions with heavy rains and storm surges, which can cause flooding hundreds of miles inland.
Some regions that might fall into this highest-risk category for flooding include the Florida panhandle, coastal regions along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast, stretches of the Mississippi River, and even areas of the Rockies where ice caps can melt and cause springtime flooding in nearby communities. If you’re living in one of these areas, flood insurance may be a wise investment even if it isn’t required by your lender.
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How Do I Shield My Residence From Lightning Harm
In case you are a property proprietor, will probably be in your greatest curiosity to guard your property from potential lightning harm. A couple of steps youll be able to take to assist shield your property embrace ensuring your smoke detectors are working frequently, unplugging electronics throughout a storm and getting a surge protector on your digital gadgets and home equipment. Its also possible to buy a hearth extinguisher within the occasion the lightning strike causes a hearth. At any time when a storm with lightning is current, its also greatest to remain indoors to maintain your self protected.
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Best For Online Service: State Farm
If you prefer to get quotes and manage your insurance policy online, we recommend State Farm. Though State Farm’s rates were only about $120 less than the statewide average, it’s the only competitive insurer that offers online quotes. For Michigan residents who live far from a local agent, online service may be a top priority.
State Farm is well-known for its dependability. It has an NAIC complaint index of 0.2, meaning that it receives only one-fifth as many complaints as a typical insurer of its size nationwide. Furthermore, the company has outstanding financial stability: A.M. Best rated it A++, which is the highest rating A.M. Best offers. This means that State Farm will likely be able to pay out your claim, even in situations of high claims demand or economic downturn.
Does Home Insurance Cover Artificially Generated Surges
Artificially generated surges are power surges caused by your local electric company. If they cause a surge during maintenance work, your homeowners policy may cover the damage.
However, even if covered, some insurance companies exclude the damage to tubes, transistors, and other components inside your electronics that make them work if an artificially generated current caused the surge. Check with your agent or insurance company to verify how coverage works.
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How The Law Offices Of Anidjar & Levine Can Help You
A Fort Lauderdale property claim lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can take on your case. When you hire us to handle your claim, we will:
- Build a case, proving your homeowners insurance should cover the downed tree
- File a claim with your insurance company
- Negotiate for a settlement to cover your losses
- Appeal a denial by the insurance company
- File a lawsuit against the insurance company for unfair practices
- Argue for your case in court
Storm Damage From Weight Of Snow
Another common cause of damage from winter storms is the weight of snow on roofs. If snow causes your roof to collapse or get otherwise damaged, homeowners insurance will cover the damage. However, keep in mind that if your roof is leaky due to lack of maintenance and water gets into your home, insurance won’t cover it.
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Does Householders Insurance Coverage Cowl Lightning Strikes
Most householders insurance coverage insurance policies cowl harm brought on by lightning strikes. Underneath a typical householders insurance coverage coverage, your dwelling protection pays for any damages accomplished to your propertys precise construction.
Moreover, customary householders insurance coverage insurance policies cowl damages to your property, akin to a mailbox, deck, and electrical methods. Your property insurer would assist cowl the restore prices as much as your coverages protection limits. A typical householders insurance coverage coverage additionally consists of lack of use protection, which might pay for any further dwelling bills when your property is underneath restore from a lined declare.
The excellent news is that since these are all lined underneath a typical householders coverage, you usually dont must buy any further protection for lightning strikes.
What To Do To Prevent Power Surges
There are proactive steps you can take to protect your home from power surges by installing various degrees of surge protection devices. Point-of-use surge protection devices are protective devices that can usually be installed in a similar way to your circuit breaker . SPDs wonât suppress or stop a power surge, but they instead divert the electrical surge to the ground. SPDs can protect the appliances in your home, and you can combine SPDs with other surge protectors, like an electric panel surge protector.
Itâs always a good idea to periodically check your plugs and your homeâs wiring. Installing surge protected outlets and replacing your surge protectors every few years is a good way to keep your home protected from potential power surges. If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather, you might want to consider installing a lightning protection system in your house.
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Cover The Cost Of Repair With A Home Warranty
To help defray repair costs of your air conditioner and other appliances, consider getting a home warranty.
Home warranties, also called home repair insurance, cover the cost to repair your home’s systems and appliances, including your air conditioner, for a set fee. Just be sure you understand the policy’s terms before you sign up.
When Isn’t Your Ac Covered By A Homeowners Insurance Policy
Homeowners insurance policies don’t cover AC malfunctions caused by lack of maintenance, general wear and tear or accidents. An air conditioner that fails after 10 years of use or is dented by an errant baseball during a backyard game of catch won’t be covered by your home insurance. You’ll be solely responsible for repairing or replacing the unit.
Be on the lookout for water damage, too. While AC units generally aren’t very susceptible to water damage themselves, they produce water as part of their normal operation. If that water leaks into your home and causes flooding, you won’t be covered because it would be considered a maintenance issue. Regularly check your AC unit to make sure it’s draining properly.
Additionally, homeowners insurance companies treat central AC and window AC units differently. Generally, a central AC unit is considered part of your home’s structure, while a window unit is covered as personal property rather than as part of the structure of the home. As a result, the scope of damage covered for window units is generally narrower.
There aren’t many situations where a central AC would be covered and a window unit wouldn’t, but you should check the specifics of your policy to be sure.
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Michigan Insurance Rates: City
In addition to a statewide analysis of every ZIP code in Michigan, we also did a city-specific analysis to see how much homeowners insurance costs in the major cities and townships of Michigan.
For every city we looked at, we calculated the cost of homeowners insurance for every ZIP code in that city, then averaged the results. If you’d like to see how costs in Michigan compare to other parts of the U.S., you can find those numbers in our study of home insurance rates by state.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Power Surge Damage
Whether or not your homeowners policy covers power surge damage depends on what actually caused it. In a standard homeowners insurance policy, lightning strikes and sudden, accidental damage from artificially generated electrical currents are both covered.
If your house is struck by lightning, and it causes a power surge that fries your TVs and computer, your homeowners insurance may help pay to replace your damaged belongings up to your personal property coverage limit. If your electrical company caused a power surge during maintenance work that damaged your belongings, that may be considered an artificially generated electrical current, which is covered.
However, some insurers do not cover the loss of tubes, transistors, and other components that make electronics work, which would exclude most home appliances, like refrigerators and stoves, if they were to be damaged by an artificially generated current.
Homeowners insurance may also cover:
Short circuit damage
Damage caused by a power surge, like a fire
If youâre covered, your reimbursement amount will depend on whether you have a replacement cost policy or an actual cash value policy. If you have a replacement cost policy, and your policy covers power surge damage, then your insurer will reimburse you for new items, up to your policyâs limits. But if you have an actual cash value policy, you will only be reimbursed the depreciated value of your belongings.
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