Lightning can be destructive and dangerous if your home is struck. Luckily, lightning is one of the perils a home insurance policy covers.
Damage caused by lightning strikes is covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy — but gray areas and exceptions may exist, even though lightning is among the primary perils covered by home insurance policies.
While the likelihood of your property getting struck by lightning is slim, it’s important to understand under what circumstances your insurance company will step in to help and how your coverage works if you suffer losses after a thunderstorm.
Yes, damage incurred by lightning is generally covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Home insurance coverage can provide compensation for your:
In many cases, hazardous weather-related incidents (including natural disasters) aren’t cut and dry in the insurance world — even if lightning doesn’t directly strike your home, your property can still suffer a lot of damage. Insurance companies typically classify lightning claims in one of a few ways:
An event like this is defined by your home getting struck by a direct hit of lightning, which usually causes severe levels of destruction. Fire and smoke damage often accompany lightning incidents, and bodily harm can also occur if the home is occupied. These claims are easier to prove and collect a payout for because of the direct nature of the source of lightning damage.
Trees and other structures on your property hit by lightning can also cause a substantial amount of damage. A struck tree is at great risk of falling, and in some cases, can start fires that can blaze through your home. These situations are also covered by your homeowners insurance; your insurance company can help you pay to fix structural damage caused by a fallen tree in addition to any fire and smoke damage that came about as a result. Your insurer can also assist in removing the fallen tree.
Your home can still be harmed if any of the surrounding areas are hit by lightning. However, incidents like this can be more challenging to prove to your insurance company because the lightning did not strike your property directly. Damage from these events is typically less severe than those caused by direct hits.
A ground surge can occur when a lightning strike causes a spike in electricity to travel through the area. These claims can also be difficult to prove because the source of damage originated away from your property.
The first thing homeowners should do if their property is hit by lightning is to call the police and fire department so there is an official record of what happened on file. If your home is damaged to an extent that it’s unlivable, arrange accommodations nearby. Make sure to save any and all receipts for lodging, transportation and meals, so you can receive reimbursement under the Additional Living Expenses portion of your homeowners policy.
Yes, your home insurance premium will become pricier if you file a claim and are paid for it — but how much it will increase will greatly depend on the total cost of the claim paid by your insurance company. On average, you can expect your rate to increase by at least 9% after filing a lightning claim.
|Number of Claims||Average Annual Premium||Monthly Cost||% Difference|
|1 Lightning Claim||$1,375||$115||9%|
|2 Lightning Claims||$1,404||$117||2%|
|3 Lightning Claims||$1,434||$119||2%|
If your premium has become unaffordable after a lightning-related claim, shopping around and switching insurance companies can save you more money in the long run. The table below displays average rates after a lightning claim from top home insurance companies.
|Home Insurance Company||Annual Insurance Rate After Lightning Claim||Monthly Rate|
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the number of home insurance claims for lightning damage decreased in 2019, but the cost of those claims has risen incrementally since 2017. In 2019, the average cost per lightning claim in the United States was almost $12,000. Florida and Texas are the most affected states for lightning-related homeowners insurance claims.
There are steps homeowners can take to mitigate property damage and bodily harm from lightning and thunderstorms:
Explore more in-depth safety tips in our guide to prepping for a thunderstorm.