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NEW YORK, June 19, 2020—For the second consecutive year, the number of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims decreased in 2019 yet the average cost per claim has increased 11 percent between 2017 and 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).
The Triple-I’s findings, based on national insurance claims numbers, determined:
“It’s not surprising that lightning-related homeowners insurance claims costs have risen,” said James Lynch, chief actuary and senior vice president of Research and Education at the Triple-I. “Homes are more susceptible to lightning damage because electronic systems have become more interconnected – think Smart Homes – which have an easy gateway to much of a home’s electronic network, damaging scores of devices and appliances at once.”
Lynch added the average cost per claim rose 2.6 percent from 2018 to 2019. “However, the average cost per claim between 2017 and 2019 increased 11 percent,” he said.
State by State Numbers
Florida – the state with the most thunderstorms— remained the top state for lightning claims in 2019, with 6,821, followed by Texas (5,780) and California (5,100). Texas, which had ranked fourth in 2018, moved up to second place (5,780) and New York moved up from eighth to sixth place (2,866). Of the states with largest number of claims, Texas had the highest average cost per claim at $15,278 in 2019.
Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Damage caused by lightning, such as a fire, is covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Some policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike, which can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures and the electrical foundation of a home.
In recognition of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, June 21-27, the Triple-I and the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI), a national organization that promotes lightning protection education, awareness and safety, encourage homeowners to install a lightning protection system in their home.
“When it comes to lightning, safety and liability are two important factors,” said Tim Harger, executive director of LPI. “The safest place in any lightning event is within a structure protected by a properly designed, inspected and certified lightning protection system. Lightning protection systems protect the electronic infrastructure, core and knock-on functions of properties and can significantly reduce the more than $900 million of insured claims."
To locate an LPI-certified lightning protection system installer in your area, click here.
Consumer Alert: The Dangers of Shoddy Lightning Protection System Installations
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety