How Adjusters Should Investigate Lightning Insurance Claims

Posted on July 24, 2015


The NDLN is now able to detect lightning strikes with between 80 and 90 percent accuracy at a distance of just 500 meters. Compared to the 1990s, when strike data was only accurate to 10 kilometers, this is a major improvement.

As with many reports, a professional should be enlisted when interpreting data from the NDLN. Paying a forensic meteorologist to draw conclusions from the NDLN’s maps will reduce the likelihood that a finding will be disputed later.

Different Types of Damage and Coverages

As most adjusters know, lightning can cause several types of damage:

  • a direct strike can ignite a fire
  • a surge can damage electronics, including computers, televisions and appliances
  • a shock wave can damage physical structures, such as walls, windows and foundations

Many policies don’t provide coverage for surges and shock waves that originate outside of the property. Therefore, it’s important to not only assess the type and extent of damage, but also to determine where the strike occurred. Only after ascertaining all of this information, will you be able to see whether the insurance policy will cover the claim.

Investigating lightning insurance claims used to be a difficult, subjective process. As technology becomes more accurate at determining where lightning strikes occur, though, the process is becoming more and more straightforward. If you’re an adjuster, be sure to take full advantage of the latest advancements from the NDLN in lightning-strike reporting whenever you’re faced with a lightning insurance claim. You should also be sure to keep in mind that you will need to seek approval on the expenses for the report and comply with all client-company requirements.