Over $1.2 billion in lightning-related homeowners insurance claims were paid to more than 70,000 policyholders in the U.S., with $194 million attributed to Texas alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

  • The total value of lightning-related claims increased by over 30% in 2023, reaching $1.27 billion from $950 million in 2022.
  • The number of claims rose by 13.8%, from 62,189 in 2022 to 70,787 in 2023, with the top 19 states accounting for 57% of the total.
  • The average cost per claim grew by 14.6%, from $15,280 in 2022 to $17,513 in 2023.

$950 mn in lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims were paid out to 62,000-plus policyholders, with $125 mn of the total attributable to California alone

According to Lightning-Caused U.S. Homeowners Insurance report, although lightning can strike everywhere in the U.S., the Southeastern states are the most vulnerable.

Homeowners Insurance Claims

Except for a few locations, such as the Rocky Mountains, where thunderstorms frequently occur throughout the summer, the chances of lightning happening typically dips from the southeast to the northwest.

Severe convective storms are among the most common, most damaging natural catastrophes in the United States.

The widespread damage the U.S. experienced in the past few days due to extreme tornado activity highlighted the importance of being financially protected from catastrophic losses by having the right types, and amounts, of insurance.

The result of warm, moist air rising from the earth, they manifest in various ways, depending on atmospheric conditions – from drenching thunderstorms with lightning, to tornadoes, hail, or destructive straight-line winds, according to Triple-I’s Recommendations.

Sean Kevelighan - President and CEO at Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I)

Rising inflation, including higher replacement, construction, and labor costs, impacted claim costs for the year

Sean Kevelighan, President and CEO of Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I)

“Lightning Safety Awareness Week highlights the dangers lightning poses to life and property and how insurers and policyholders are reducing these risks through effective mitigation efforts,” Sean Kevelighan says.

Homeowners Insurance Claims And Payout for Lightning Losses

YearValue of claims
($ mn)
Number of
claims
Average cost
per claim
2017$916.61      85,020 $10,781
2018908.93      77,898 11,668
2019920.05      76,86011,971
20202,066.74      71,551 28,885
20211,313.06      60,851 21,578
2022950.22      62,189 15,280
20231,239.72      70,787 17,513
% change   
2023-202230.5%13.8%14.6%
2023-201735.3%-16.7%62.4%
Source: Insurance Information Institute

Severe convective storms are common and highly damaging natural events in the U.S. They arise from warm, moist air and can include thunderstorms with lightning, tornadoes, hail, or destructive winds, depending on atmospheric conditions.

Florida, with the most thunderstorms, had the highest number of lightning claims in 2023 at 6,003. Texas had the highest average cost per claim at $41,654.

According to the CDC, the states with the most lightning-related deaths and injuries include Florida, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Top 10 States For Homeowners Insurance Lightning Losses By Number Of Claims

Top 10 States For Homeowners Insurance Lightning Losses By Number Of Claims

RankStateValue of
claims
Number of
claims
Average cost
per claim
1Florida$104,544,2856,003$17,416
2Georgia87,110,7615,16116,877
3Texas194,288,8884,66441,654
4California83,367,7914,60818,090
5Alabama54,981,7563,50815,673
6Louisiana35,167,3753,05011,529
7North Carolina35,544,2432,88112,337
8New York50,785,8482,45820,659
9Pennsylvania27,219,0442,21412,296
10Tennessee39,792,3302,13618,630
 Top 10 States$712,802,32036,68419,431
Source: Insurance Information Institute

Standard homeowners insurance policies cover lightning damage, such as fire. Some policies also cover power surges caused directly by lightning strikes.

The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) noted that lightning strikes can occur up to 100 times per second.

What makes these states more prone to lightning-related damage than other states that didn’t make this list?

It all boils down to how prone each state is to more frequent thunderstorms. Lightning strikes and thunderstorms are inherently related, and once lightning occurs, thunder usually follows.

As expensive as insurance may be, it’s still advisable for homeowners who live in these high-risk states to invest in the proper plan that can compensate them appropriately for lightning damage incurred.

…………………..

AUTHOR: Sean Kevelighan – President and Chief Executive Officer of Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), Mark Friedlander – Triple-I director of corporate communications

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