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III: Lightning claims down but costs up

Posted On Thu, June 23, 2011

Recently, the Insurance Information Institute reported that lightning storms can be just as destructive and costly as tornadoes. The organization is now backing up that assertion with some sobering statistics.

The III reports that in 2010 alone, thunderstorms were responsible for more than $1 billion in insured losses, often resulting from electronic equipment being fried and homes being set on fire after being struck by a bolt of lightning.

Interestingly, however, the number of claims for lightning-related damage declined in 2010 compared to 2009.

"The number of claims is down, but the average cost per claim continues to rise, in part because of the huge increase in the number and value of consumer electronics in homes," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the III. "Plasma and high-definition television sets, home entertainment centers, multiple computer households, gaming systems and other expensive devices - which can all be destroyed by power surges - are having a significant impact on claims losses."

Because homeowners often contain valuables that are expensive, it may be wise to purchase additional coverage for personal property items, as the damage the items sustain may exceed the standard amount covered under a home insurance policy.

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