Although the majority of strategies and methodologies in adjusting a lightning damage claim are similar to that of other losses, there are unique aspects of this peril that require special attention and expertise.
For lightning losses that do not result in an ensuing fire loss, most damage is caused by the electrical surge that is produced by the strike. Although not always immediately known, lightning can cause catastrophic damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures, and the electrical infrastructure of your home or business. The resulting damage, once identified and measured, may be far more significant than one initially believes, possibly leading to temporary loss of use (of the home) for the homeowner or significant loss of revenue for businesses.
It may be important to determine where the electrical surge occurred. Many insurance policies will not pay for losses that result from off premises power surges. So be prepared to deal with this issue should the insurance company bring this up. Also, there is a difference between a lighting strike and a power surge. Some insurance companies may want you to get a lightning affidavit signed by your repair person. Be prepared for this. Discuss the cause of the loss and where it occurred with your repair person so you are in agreement and understand the reasoning of the origin of the damage on this important issue.
The primary challenge in assessing and measuring the scope of damage from any electrical loss is first to determin the scope of damage to the property. Are contents such as appliances, electronics, computers, and stereo equipment damaged? Are building items such as built-in telephone systems or electrical infrastructure damaged? If so, to what extent has the lightning power surge damaged these items? Are the items repairable or a total loss? In many cases, in order to answer these questions, it may be necessary to bring in experts to make a scope of loss determination. These experts may include electrical engineers, appliance and electronics experts, to name a few.
After first investigating your lightning loss, your Tutwiler & Associates public adjuster will advise you on the most effective and accurate way to assess and document your lightning loss, including advice on whether the use of outside experts is warranted and necessary.
In cases where lightning causes an ensuing fire, in addition to addressing the damage caused by the lightning surges, damages resulting from fire would also be assessed and documented. Please refer to the Fire Loss discussion page on our website.
Get more lightning insurance claim tips from our blog: Lightning Damage and Your Property Insurance Claim