Does homeowners insurance cover lightning?

Marco Marcianó / 500px/Getty Images

According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), 71,551 homeowners insurance claims were filed in 2020, with an average claims payout of nearly $30,000. Lightning-related homeowners insurance costs continue to rise each year, likely due to the damage that lightning strikes can cause to homes. Lightning can damage a home’s electronic systems and networks, causing homes to lose lighting, power or causing damage to other property plugged in when the lightning strikes your home. Lightning can also strike trees, which can then fall on a home.

Does homeowners insurance cover lightning strikes?

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage caused by lightning strikes. Under a standard homeowners insurance policy, your dwelling coverage will pay for any damages done to your home’s actual structure.

Additionally, standard homeowners insurance policies cover damages to your property, such as a mailbox, deck, and electrical systems. Your property insurer would help cover the repair costs up to your policy’s coverage limits. A standard homeowners insurance policy also includes loss of use coverage, which would pay for any additional living expenses when your home is under repair from a covered claim.

The good news is that since these are all covered under a standard homeowners policy, you generally do not need to purchase any additional coverage for lightning strikes.

How insurers classify lightning damage

  • Lightning strike: If lightning passes from the atmosphere to your home, it is considered a lightning strike. A direct lightning strike usually causes the most damage to your property because it can cause fires, charring, cracks in property, and damage to your home’s contents.
  • Near miss: A near miss lightning strike is when the lightning strikes near your property but does not hit it directly.
  • Ground surge: A ground surge is when lightning strikes the ground and causes an electricity spike in any area surrounding the home. Ground surges are common but can be difficult to prove as insurance companies will want to see the evidence the ground surge occurred.

Filing a claim for a lightning strike

If a lightning strike hits your home or property, you should be able to file a claim. However, it will depend on how your property insurer will assess the lightning damage. Each insurance carrier is different in how lightning damage is assessed. Here are a few ways you can file a claim for a lightning strike:

  1. Assess the damage: Once you feel that lightning has struck your home or around your home, identify where the damage has taken place when it is safe to do so. Once you have identified the damaged areas, take photos and write down the details of the lightning strike and damage done, including the time and date.
  2. File a claim: Each homeowners insurance company has its own claims process. Many insurers will allow you to file a claim online, through your account or by calling your agent or insurance company.
  3. Adjuster will come to your home: After a claim is filed, your insurer will send a claims adjuster to your home to assess the damage. The adjuster will ask you questions and take photos and notes of the damage.
  4. Receive your claims payment: You will receive a payment from your insurance company after your claim is processed. If you receive a payment in increments, the first payment will be for you to start the repairs, and the second will be once the repairs are completed. If you receive a settlement, you can either accept the check or dispute the amount by reopening the claim.

How do I protect my home from lightning damage?

If you are a property owner, it will be in your best interest to protect your home from potential lightning damage. A few steps you can take to help protect your home include making sure your smoke detectors are working on a regular basis, unplugging electronics during a storm and getting a surge protector for your electronic devices and appliances. You can also purchase a fire extinguisher in the event the lightning strike causes a fire. Whenever a storm with lightning is present, it is also best to stay indoors to keep yourself safe.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to add lightning coverage to my homeowners insurance policy?

No, most standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage caused by lightning. However, it is always best to review your policy with your insurer so they can answer any questions.

What are the best homeowners insurance companies?

If you’re looking for homeowners insurance, you will have to identify your needs and what you are looking for in an insurance company. However, here is the list of the best homeowners insurance, according to Bankrate.

What is the average cost of homeowners insurance?

The average annual cost of homeowners insurance is $1,312 for a home with a dwelling coverage of $250,000.