What Adjusters Need to Know About Lightning and Electronic Claims

Posted on July 24, 2015

As electronics become more and more prevalent in our society, claims for lightning damage to electronics are increasing. Citing data from the Insurance Information Institute, Scott Lacourse reports that insured electronics losses from lightning totaled $14.9 billion in 2012. With the prevalence of lightning and electronic claims, adjusters need to know how to validate them and what information to gather.

Validating Lightning and Electronics Claims

Like all other insurance claims, adjusters need to validate lightning and electronics claims. Adjusters will sometimes find physical evidence of claims in the form of burnt wires, outlets or electronics. Depending on how recently the damage occurred, electronics may still smell burnt.

Though, a lack of obvious physical evidence of a lightning strike doesn’t invalidate a claim. Lightning can kill electronics without leaving a physical trace. Other signs of potential lightning damage include:

Gathering Information on Damaged Electronics

When lightning does strike and cause damage, adjusters usually need to gather information on two main electronics: televisions and computers. When looking at a damaged television, the brand and model number will provide all the details that are needed. For a computer, adjusters will also need to determine the computer’s hardware (e.g. hard drive, CPU, ram and audio card). Although computers also have model numbers, the same model can come in multiple configurations.

With lightning and electronics claims take a two-fold approach: validate the claim and identify the damaged electronics. You should then be able to settle claims quickly and efficiently. With complex losses the help of an electrical engineer or other experts can provide additional information about electronic devices.

  • Multiple damaged electronics (a strike rarely damages one computer or television)
  • Reports from neighbors of a storm
  • Positive data from a lightning strike report
  • Confirmation from an electrical engineer (this would only be required when processing large claims)