Florida Community Is Lightning Capital of the United States

May 18, 2017

There were almost 50 lightning deaths recorded in Florida between 2005 and 2014 — the highest in any state in the country. The next highest was Texas, with 20 recorded deaths.

Most lightning fatalities occur in the summer (with July being the peak month). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the odds of being struck by lightning during your lifetime is 1 out of 12,000. Only 10 percent of those struck are actually killed, but some people sustain permanent disabilities.

Being struck by lightning is a terrifying prospect, but keep in mind that lightning also strikes property. The potential for lightning property damage is just as real in Florida as the potential for human death or injury. According to ValuePenguin, lightning strikes resulted in $739 million in homeowner’s insurance losses in 2014, affecting almost 100,000 policyholders nationwide. The average lightning-related insurance claim that year was $7,400.

Does Your Homeowner’s Policy Cover Lightning Strikes?

Last year a small community in Collier County was named the new lightning capital of the United States. (Scientists are able to use satellite technology to determine where the most lightning strikes occur.) This “distinction” goes to Orangetree, which is located near the Everglades, between Naples and Immokalee.

Lightning strikes can cause fires (inside or outside of your home), ruin appliances and electrical wiring, and shock and injure occupants. That’s why Orangetree homeowners — and, indeed, all Florida homeowners — should review their insurance policies to determine whether they are protected from lightning damage.

Lightning strikes are typically covered as perils in homeowner’s insurance policies, and you shouldn’t need to purchase extra coverage. However, there might be certain exclusions in your policy (always read the fine print). For example, your policy might not cover damage from an electrical surge triggered when lightning strikes a power line that connects to your home, as opposed to a direct strike.

These sorts of policy exclusions are often the subject of insurance claim disputes. An experienced attorney can help you understand your policy’s terms before a dispute arises and ensure that you have the coverage you need.

Tips for Homeowners

There are a few precautions that homeowners can take to minimize damage from lightning strikes:

  • Make sure that your home is equipped with smoke detectors.
  • Because you live in Florida, your home is vulnerable to lightning strikes (particularly if you live in Collier County). Consider installing a lightning rod or another type of whole house surge protection.
  • Plug your appliances into grounded outlets that offer surge protection.
  • Always unplug electrical appliances like computers, televisions and microwaves during thunderstorms.

Keep in mind that these precautions won’t completely prevent lightning damage, which is why you should also ensure that this damage is covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Contact Us Today

The Insurance Litigation Group will walk you through the terms of your insurance policy and the insurance claims process. Contact us today in Florida for a free consultation if your property has sustained lightning damage and benefit from ILG’s team of experienced insurance law attorneys and former public adjusters dedicated to standing up for your rights and helping you get fast, full reimbursement on your covered loss.





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