Top 10 states for homeowners insurance lightning losses

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Top 10 states for homeowners insurance lightning losses

The number of homeowners insurance claims from lightning strikes in the United States fell in 2019, but the average cost that insurers paid on those claims has increased by 11% between 2017 and 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

From 2007 to 2011, local U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning, according to a study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

These fires caused an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year, the NFPA found. Home fires accounted for 19% of the lightning fires. Fires in non-residential structures, including businesses and other non-residential properties, accounted for 7%, and vehicle fires accounted for 1%. The remaining 73% of fires were in outdoor and unclassified properties.

Lightning claims in 2019

In 2019, the U.S. recorded 76,860 lightning claims, according to the Triple-I. Collectively, these claims cost insurers $920.1 million at an average of $11,971 per claim. Insurers saw an increase in the average cost per claim last year, rising 2.6% from 2018 to 2019.

James Lynch, chief actuary and senior vice president of research and education at the Triple-I, says it’s not surprising that lightning-related homeowners insurance claims costs have risen.

“Homes are more susceptible to lightning damage because electronic systems have become more interconnected — think smart homes — which have an easy gateway to much of a home’s electronic network, damaging scores of devices and appliances at once,” Lynch said.

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