In 2018, homeowners filed over 70,000 claims for lightning damage losses. While the total number of claims was down from recent years, the average claim cost actually rose. The Insurance Information Institute (III) theorizes this is due to several factors including rising construction costs plus the amount of sophisticated Smart Home devices that are damaged in an electrical storm.
Since we’re headquartered in Florida, the number one state for lightning strikes, Fudge Insurance knows the shocking damage it can cause. However, there are some ways you can protect your home and be a little more prepared for lightning damage.
1. Install Whole House Surge Protection
While you’ve probably heard of installing surge protected panels to plug in your devices, there is actually more you can do to safeguard your entire electrical system. Surge protection for the entire home comes with the addition of specialized equipment to your home’s electrical box. With the onset of more interconnected Smart Home devices, this is a critical step. MrElectric.com, a certified electrical company explains how this protection works: “Like a pressure relief valve, when a surge is detected, whole house surge protectors block excess current or divert it safely to the ground, protecting every appliance in your home.” This work should always be done by a certified electrician.
2. Protect Outside Devices
Outdoor equipment for pools and spas or well pumps is often grounded differently than inside electrical devices. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) explains in their guide How to Protect Your House and Its Contents from Lightning that these pieces of equipment are often grounded on concrete pads which then connect to moist soil. IEEE says this can be beneficial grounding to protect against surges, but it is still not enough. They recommend installing a separate surge protection device bonded between all wires to fully protect outside electrical equipment.
3. Safeguard Your Trees
Yes, there are actually ways to lessen the potential of damage due to lightning striking a tree near your home. Some trees are also more susceptible to strikes than others. Oak, Ash, Pine, and Spruce top the list for most struck. When considering lightning protection, focus on taller trees within 10 feet of a structure or with overhanging branches. To protect these natural wonders, a tree service will most likely install a system of copper wiring fastened from the top of the tree to the soil below it. Angie’s List.com suggests that the upfront costs of investing in lightning protection systems for your trees will be less than the price of removing a damaged tree from your property. Keeping your trees trimmed and free of dead or rotting limbs is also a critical step to eliminate damage to your property.
Since we’re headquartered in the lightning capital of the world, at Fudge Insurance, we know how important it is to protect your home. Protecting your home is the first step, however, in the event of a lightning strike to your property, let us help you assess the damage and answer any questions from an insurance perspective. Together we can stay storm safe.