Feasterville-Trevose, PA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/06/2018 --With the arrival of hot weather comes the addition of thunderstorms and lightning. However, if a lightning bolt hits a dwelling, does insurance cover it? The answer is yes. Homeowner's insurance does cover lightning strikes but only certain types. This post will go through the ins and outs of coverage for lighting strikes.
Lightning Damage Coverage
Lightning strikes can cause fires inside and outside of a building, ruin appliances and electronics, and wiring within walls can be affected. Shock can also injure occupants of the building. The lightning strike and resulting fire are covered by homeowner's policies with no exclusions. Homeowners policies should also provide coverage for the following:
1. Personal property, including electronics, appliances, furnishings and other interior possessions that were destroyed by the lightning strike. Typical policies pay actual cash value minus depreciation for the items. However, most policies pay for personal possession at about 50-70% of the amount of insurance on the home. There should be an option in the policy for replacement, which pays for the replacement of the items at their entire current value.
2. Additional living expenses is usually 20% of the dwellings value. This coverage pays for the insured to live elsewhere while the property is being repaired.
3. Other structures, i.e. sheds and garages, are also covered. This coverage is usually about 20% of the dwellings value.
Treatment of Lightning Damage from Insurers
Lightning is typically described as "naturally generated electricity from the atmosphere" and can be classified in three different ways.
1. Direct Strike is when lighting enters and passes through the home or other property on its way to the ground. This type causes the most amount of damage, including fire and charring. This type of damage is also the easiest claim to collect.
2. Near Miss is when lightning strikes in an area near the home but does not hit the structure directly. Damage resulting from this type is usually less than damage from a direct strike. The damage resulting from this strike is also more difficult for the insurance company to determine the cause of. An average policy does not include artificially generated currents. "Artificially generated current" includes sparks from electrical lines or transformers, which can cause similar damage to a near miss.
3. Ground Surge is when lightning strikes and affects the electricity throughout an area. It is the most common lightning-related claim. The damage that results from this type of strike is more difficult to prove and thus fewer claims are paid out for this type.
Additional Coverage and Protection
No additional coverage is needed to be purchased, even if the insured lives in an area prone to lightning strikes. However, people do suggest equipping homes with tools to combat lightning strikes. These tools include electrical grounds, grounded weather-vanes, lighting rods, and/or surge suppressors. Though some people argue that those are not enough to safeguard a home from a lightning strike. Many people suggest a full lightning protection system that includes lightning strike termination devices, aluminum or copper braided cable conductors, grounded terminals/rods (installed at least 10 feet deep into the ground), interconnecting bonding to minimize the side flashing, and surge suppression devices installed at the electrical panel. The system should include protection for electrical, telephone, cable/satellite TV lines entering the structure.
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