More than $1 billion in lightning-caused US homeowners insurance claims were paid out in 2021, according to the Insurance Information Institute (the Triple-I).
The sum was paid to 60,000-plus policyholders, with 40 percent of that figure ($523 million) attributable to California alone.
Florida – the state with the most thunderstorms – remained the top state for the highest number of lightning claims in 2021, with 5,339, followed by Texas, Georgia and California, respectively. California, which had 3,381 lightning claims, had the highest average cost per claim at $154,574.
Based on national insurance claims data compiled to coincide with Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the Triple-I found that the total value of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims was down more than 36 percent in 2021 ($1.31 billion) from 2020 ($2.06 billion).
The number of lightning-caused US homeowners insurance claims decreased by more than 15 percent between 2020 and 2021, continuing its downward trend from 2017 with a decrease of more than 28 percent from 85,000 to 60,000.
The average cost per lightning-caused claim decreased 25 percent from 28,885 in 2020 to 21,578 in 2021.
Despite steady decreases over a five-year period (2017-2021) in the number of lightning-caused homeowners insurance claims, the average cost per claim is up 100% in this timeframe ($10,781 to $21,578).
Loretta Worters, a vice president with the Triple-I, said: “The average cost per claim is volatile from year to year, but it has been particularly high in the past two years because of lightning fires throughout the country.”
“Not only does lightning result in deadly fires, it can cause severe damage to appliances, electronics, computers and equipment, phone systems, electrical fixtures, and the electrical foundation of a home. The resulting damage may be far more significant than a homeowner realizes. Delays in supply chain are also sending appliances and electronics prices higher.”