The weather is warming up and we’re bound to have a few powerful lightning storms this year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 185,789 lightning claims in 2009 and they totaled $798 million with the average claim being over $4,000. The majority of this damage was identified to be caused by lightning strikes surging electricity through the home. It can happen to you! So here is what to do if your house is hit by lightning:
Evacuate & Call 911
If you’re home when the lightning strikes, it should sound like a small bomb and the house will shake. Account for everyone in the house and evacuate. Lightning bolts can reach 50,000 degrees and cause a fire. Sometimes the fire starts small and is slow burning, so you may not notice it right away. Leave the house immediately and call the fire department. The fire department will use thermal imaging cameras to ensure there aren’t any fires in the walls of your home. Once they give you the all-clear, you can return to the house.
You have home insurance, don’t you? If not, look into it right away. Most mortgages and renting companies require it. A standard home insurance policy will cover damage from lightning strikes, including fires and burnt-out electronics. Report the lightning strike to your insurance agent as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, it can take weeks to realize the extent of the damage. The path the lightning surge can take is random and some electronics might be spared while others weren’t. Test out all the electronics in your home. When you fill out your claim with the insurance company, keep records of both your big replacement purchases like televisions, appliances, and computers and any repairs you have done. Carefully review your policy and check with your agent before you discard anything you plan to claim as damaged. Insurance companies can get tricky.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Avoid suffering a power-outage and untold damage by having a whole-home surge protection system installed in your home. Your home insurance may even give you a discount if you have one. At Allen Electrical, we choose to install SYCOM whole-home surge protection because of the lifetime warranty and a $25,000 guarantee in the event of electrical damage caused by a surge. So, in the unlikely event that your SYCOM whole-home surge protection unit fails, you’re covered up to $25,000 (with regulations and exclusions).