With spring, comes lightning storms. Many people enjoy watching as they illuminate the dark night. Mother Nature puts on a beautiful show as the lightning bolts streak across the sky, sometimes flashing for what seems to be an eternity.
The not-so-beautiful part of spring storms is that they cause more property loss in any given year than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes combined! Lightning is a discharge of electrical energy in the atmosphere and flashes from one cloud to another. Therefore, the first thing most people think of when lightning is present is the chance for a fire.
Though lightning storms can happen any season – any month, for that matter – storm season is June through August. Early spring comes in as a close second for active, damaging lightning storms. July has the highest number of lightning fires; 41% strike residential and other structures.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, approximately 17,400 fires are caused by lightning on an annual basis, resulting in a total of $138 million in property damage. The dollar loss per fire is almost double that of other fires.
The first thing you might think of is a lightning rod. Though many think they attract lightning, what they really do is provide a safe path for the electricity to follow to the ground.
In addition to the structure, you must also protect the personal property inside. Electrical surges often occur and can damage TVs, computers and other electronics. A surge protector installed at the main electrical panel and also at the outlets will often prevent sudden spikes in electrical current, which could have resulted in “fried” electronics.
Review your insurance policy with your agent to make sure you have sufficient coverage on your home and the personal property inside.
Also, create an inventory of all the personal property you own (personal property is described as all items that will fall out of a building when turned upside down and shaken). Insurance companies will require this list when you file a claim for the loss. They will ask for each item you want replaced, what you paid for it, when you purchased it and who the manufacturer was. They will also request model numbers and serial numbers for appliances, electronics, power tools, etc.
Proper insurance and a personal property inventory – together, these will enable you to recover financially if a lightning storm results in a fire that damages or destroys your home or business. You’ll not only have your inventory to file the insurance claim quickly, this will lessen the stress while it maximizes your settlement.