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Ask the Home Insurance Expert
Lightning hit a tree, which fell on a power line, causing a power surge that damaged my electronics. Am I covered?
Yes, you should be covered under a standard home insurance policy. However, there may be a limit for how much the policy pays out for damage to electronics.
Home insurance covers all your personal belongings up to a percentage of the home's insured value. But there are additional limits on certain valuable items, such as jewelry, fine art, antiques, firearms and electronics. Check the policy, and call your agent to get coverage details.
Typically, electronics are not covered if they're damaged by a surge when the power comes back on after an outage. But they are covered if the surge is due to lightning or another covered peril. Any damage caused by lightning is covered under a standard home insurance policy.
Damage to electronics may be extensive or limited. Your TV might be fried, but your computer might be OK. Do a thorough check to determine the extent of the damage. Don't forget the doorbell and all the outlets.
Call your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to report the lightning strike. Dig out any records you have for purchases of the electronics that were damaged. The insurance company will want to see some type of proof that you owned these items. It's always a good idea to keep detailed records of big-ticket purchases and to maintain an updated inventory of belongings. This helps ensure a smooth claims process. The Insurance Information Institute provides free software for completing a home inventory at KnowYourStuff.org.
Keep all receipts of how much you spend to replace or repair the damaged electronics, and check with the claim representative before you throw out any of the equipment you plan to claim as damaged.
For more, see Lightning hit my house!