Facts + Statistics: Lightning

In 2020 there were 17 direct lightning fatalities, compared with 20 in 2019, according to the National Weather Service. From 2010 to 2019 on average, 26 people died each year from lightning strikes in the United States.

Florida and Texas were tied for the most lightning deaths in 2020 with three deaths, followed by two in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, according to statistics from National Weather Service. California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Montana and South Carolina each reported one lightning death. For more information on lightning claims and payouts, see the Homeowners Claims section.

 
Lightning Fatalities By State, 2020

 

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service.

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Homeowners insurance losses

For the fourth consecutive year, the number of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims decreased in 2020 yet the average cost of those claims more than doubled since 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). 

The number of lightning caused claims fell 6.9 percent to 71,551 claims in 2020 from 76,860 in 2019, while the value of those claims soared 124.6 percent from $920.1 million in 2019 to $2.1 billion in 2020. Lightning-related homeowners insurance claim costs nationally rose dramatically due to a series of lightning strikes across Northern California in 2020, according to the Triple-I. The average cost per lightning claim in California was $217,555 last year while the national average was $28,885 in 2020, up 141.3 percent from $11,971 in 2019.

 
Homeowners Insurance Claims And Payout for Lightning Losses, 2017-2021

 

Year Value of claims
($ millions)
Number
of claims
Average cost
per claim
2017 916.6 85,020 10,781
2018 908.9 77,898 11,668
2019 920.1 76,860 11,971
2020 2,066.7 71,551 28,885
2021 1,313.1 60,851 21,578
Percent change      
2020-2021  -36.5% -15.0% -25,3%
2017-2020 43.3% -28.4% 100.1%

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

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Top 10 States For Homeowners Insurance Lightning Losses By Number Of Claims, 2021

 

Rank State Value of claims
($ millions)
Number
of Claims
Average cost
per claim
1 Florida $88.30 5,339 $16,552
2 Texas 95.2 4,490 21,206
3 Georgia 43.8 3,817 11,492
4 California 522.6 3,381 154,574
5 New York 45.1 2,426 18,592
6 Pennsylvania 34.0 2,410 14,134
7 North Carolina 36.8 2,377 15,522
8 Louisiana 28.0 2,372 11,817
9 Alabama 29.3 2,276 12,906
10 Michigan 26.9 1,887 14,291
  Total, top 10 $950.4 $30,775 $30,885
  All other states $362.5 $30,076 $12,055
  Total U.S. $1,313.0 $60,851 $21,578

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

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For more information on lightning, please see The Lightning Protection Institute.

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