Lightning strikes triggered 186,000 insurance claims throughout the United States in 2011, costing nearly $1 billion, according to an analysis of homeowners insurance data by the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm.
The number of claims actually decreased 13 percent from 2010, but the total cost was up 5.5 percent. Those totals build on a recent trend: From 2004 to 2011, the actual number of claims has fallen 33 percent while the average cost per claim has risen 93 percent.
The III attributes the decline in the number of claims to the increased use of lightning protection systems.
Meanwhile, average cost per claim is rising "because of the huge increase in the number and value of consumer electronics in homes," said Loretta Worters, vice president of the III, in a press statement.
"Plasma and high-definition television sets, home entertainment centers, multiple computer households, smart phones, gaming systems and other expensive devices -- which can all be destroyed by power surges -- continue to have a significant impact on claims losses," Worters says.