Summer electrical storms are no laughing matter, as lightning causes millions of dollars in damage. Following are some simple steps to reduce your risk and limit damage:
Lightning Rods: Proper grounding and distribution can dramatically reduce damage during an electrical event. Lightning rods have been routinely installed on commercial properties, but it’s just as easy to have them installed in residential areas.
Surge Protectors: Without a doubt, one of the most common causes of electronic and computer failure is an electrical surge. Appliances are at risk, especially newer models with built-in computer chips and electronic components. Installation of whole-house or direct-plug-in-type surge protectors provides an important layer of protection.
Backup Files: Computer data, photographs, digital music and other files can be costly or even impossible to replace. Back up files on a regular basis. For especially valuable data, consider purchasing additional insurance to cover losses or help replace/restore lost data.
Insurance: Many homeowner policies explicitly limit or exclude losses due to electrical storms or lightning. Ask your agent about the cost of coverage for appliances, electronics and computers, as well as the data included on each. Consider a stand-alone policy for sensitive items.
Extended Warranties: Many computers, appliances and electronics provide extended warranties at the time of purchase. Some include lightning protection, while others expressly limit losses due to lightning.
Carefully read the policy prior to purchase to understand what is included.