By Joan LaFemina
April Showers do bring beautiful May flowers but sometimes those showers bring heavy rain and thunderstorms! With thunder can come lightning and/or power outages. You cannot prevent Mother Nature from zapping your home, but there are things you can do to protect it.
We are often asked, “Will my homeowners insurance cover lightning strikes or the fire caused by one?” or “Will my homeowner policy cover items damaged by a power outage?” Well, it does depend on your policy, most of the time, your homeowners insurance policy will repair or replace property damaged by fire or these types of events. To really know if you are covered, a thorough review of your policy id a great idea, ask us or your current agent. You can add endorsements to the policy to cover refrigerated items spoilage or other items not typically covered on a basic policy.
Often, the cost to replace small appliances and electronics that may be damaged is not worth making a claim. Too many claims can mean increased premium and in some cases a non-renewal of your policy. It is always better to prepare and prevent and reduce the likelihood of damage.
Lightning strikes are usually not a direct hit and it is often a power surge (a sudden spike in electricity) caused by the lightning that is responsible for most loss. These surges have been known to destroy electronic systems and even cause fires and explosions. A little less destructive are the minor fluctuations associated with electrical surges during power outages which can wreak havoc on your computer and telephone systems and all electrical appliances. Modern electrical devices and appliances with touch pads or circuit boards are especially vulnerable to harm.
How can you prepare & prevent?
- In high lightning areas, make sure you have or install a lightning protection system (i.e. lightning rods, to carry the strike to ground rods, etc.) which guard against direct strikes and resulting fires and structural damage that can occur
- Unplug and/or turn off high-end expensive equipment during storms or outages
- Make sure to charge all necessary devices: cell phones, laptops, radios, flashlights, etc. before the storm hits
- Purchase a power converter that allows most laptops (12 volts or less) or cell phones to be operated from the cigarette lighter of a vehicle if needed
- Consider a surge arrester for the whole house that can handle 20,000 volts or use surge suppressors that can handle 6,000 volts – this is not the time to skimp on price, quality units can be expensive and worth it!
- Install high quality electronic equipment surge protectors rated for sensitive electronics that can detect the fine fluctuations of current – and backup any data that is precious to the cloud
Who is your first call if your home experiences severe weather and damage? Your insurance company or agent!
Call Hometown Insurance Agency of Long Island to assess your homeowners insurance coverage at 1-800-568-SAVE (7283) or email firstname.lastname@example.org