Does My Home Insurance Cover Lightning Strikes?

power surge, extreme weather, insurance coverage,

By Allstate and Brandon Cervenka
Last updated: July 2023

A sudden spike in electricity — a power surge — can damage or destroy appliances and gadgets in the blink of an eye. And with more electronics in our homes than ever, that can be costly. The personal property coverage in a homeowners insurance policy may help cover damaged or destroyed appliances and electronics, depending on how the power surge happened.

What Causes Power Surges?

Power surges may be caused by two main events, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

Lightning strikes can cause a power surge, along with other damage, if they hit your home, power lines or telephone wires. Switching surges are caused by sudden changes in electrical loads within your home or because of power company operations.
Personal property coverage for electrical damage. Homeowners’ insurance policies typically include several kinds of coverage. A key coverage is personal property coverage, which may help replace your belongings if a covered peril damages them. If a power surge damages or destroys your electronics and appliances, personal property coverage in your homeowners’ insurance may help to protect you — up to the limits in your policy. However, coverage can vary depending on your policy, so it’s important to read it carefully or ask your insurance agent.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) explains that some — but not all — homeowners policies cover power surges that occur when lightning strikes your home directly.

Most homeowners’ policies include some protection against sudden, accidental damage from man-made electricity, according to the III. However, the III notes, some insurers don’t offer coverage for tubes, transistors and other components that make electronics work. Check your policy to learn what may and may not be covered in your home.

For example, if an appliance overheats and dies due to a power surge, your homeowner’s insurance may help cover that loss. Homeowners insurance may also provide protection if a power surge damages the electronic parts of your TV, entertainment system or laptop.
An important distinction you can check for on your own insurance policy is to review if personal property is valued on a replacement cost or actual cost value basis. While both types of valuations will help reimburse you for any losses incurred during a covered claim; (I never know when to use a semicolon; I blame the public school system) ACV will only pay for the item at a depreciated rate depending on age. Replacement cost will replace the item at the original value regardless of age. These small nuances intertwined within most policies can be the difference between thousands of dollars if a disaster were to occur. So, it quite literally can pay to stay informed and remain vigilant.

Local Allstate Santa Rosa Agent Brandon Cervenka

Planning Ahead and Surge Protection

It’s important to have a proper inventory of your personal items in case you ever need to make a claim. A detailed home inventory can help you decide whether you have enough insurance. Additionally, it is recommended to keep organized records of purchases over one-thousand dollars if a dispute arises regarding a specific items’ valuation. These simple tips will also make the claims process move much smoother, saving you from wasted time and frustration.

Finally, there are proactive things you can do to help protect your home. The III suggests installing a lightning protection system and using surge protectors. In a storm, you might consider unplugging appliances, especially sensitive electronic devices like computers.

Of course, no one wants their electronics or appliances to get fried in a power surge. But having protections in place — and understanding the terms and limits of your homeowners’ insurance coverage — can bring you some peace of mind, just in case.

Contact: Brandon Cervenka, Local 30A Allstate Insurance Agent.

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