Home insurance: Lightning damage topped $1 billion in 2010
Lightning strikes caused more than $1 billion worth of insured losses for homeowners in 2010, up nearly 15 percent from the previous year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
An analysis of home insurance data by the institute found more than 213,000 lightning claims in 2010, up from nearly 186,000 in 2009. Those losses ranged from damage to electronic equipment to fires that destroyed homes. By contrast, 278,000 lightning-related home insurance claims were filed in 2004, according to the insurance institute.
The institute puts the average lightning claim for 2010 at $4,846, compared with $4,296 in 2009 and $2,646 in 2004.
“The number of claims is down, but the average cost per claim continues to rise, in part because of the huge increase in the number and value of consumer electronics in homes,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.
“Plasma and high-definition television sets, home entertainment centers, multiple-computer households, gaming systems and other expensive devices — which can all be destroyed by power surges — are having a significant impact on claims losses.”
Damage caused by lightning is covered by standard home insurance and business insurance policies, the institute says. Some home and business insurance policies provide coverage for power surges that result from a lightning strike. Coverage for lightning damage also is available under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.