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Lightning zaps $1 billion in property
By Insure.com staff

Lightning strikes caused almost $1 billion in insured losses last year, according to an analysis of home insurance data by the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm.

Paid claims for lightning damage totaled $969 million, up 1.7 percent from 2011, even though the number of paid lightning claims -- 151,000 -- was down 19 percent year over year.

The drop in claims continues a trend. Since 2004, the number of paid lightning claims has fallen an average of 7.5 percent a year, resulting in a 46 percent drop over the eight-year period through 2012. The decrease may be due to a growing use of lightning protection systems.

However, the average cost per claims rose 142 percent over the eight years, much faster than the 21.5 percent gain in the consumer price index.

"The average cost per claim continues to rise, in part because of the huge increase in the number and value of consumer electronics in homes," III Vice President Loretta Worters said in a press statement.

Standard home insurance and business insurance policies cover damage caused by lightning, such as fire. Some home and business policies also provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of lightning strikes. The optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy also provides coverage for lightning damage.

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