Weather Center

Protection From Lightning Strikes

By Joshua Baethge 10.15.18

Enduring a storm can be nerve-racking for sure, but what happens when the skies clear?  Depending on the type of insurance you have, your problems may be just beginning.

Texas has the most ground-to-ground lightning strikes in the nation, with more than 3.3 million reported in 2017, and is second in both lightning fatalities and lightning-related insurance claims, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Lightning carries more than 100 million volts of electricity and can wreak havoc on homes. It’s not just direct hits that cause damage; a strike to a nearby tree or power line can cause unwanted power surges, damaging electrical devices, phone lines, modems, and various appliances.

But there are important lightning safety measures you can take to protect your life and your property.

Know the Risks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately one-third of all lightning-related injuries occur indoors. The CDC recommends avoiding these things when storms approach:

  • Water: Refrain from bathing, showering, or washing dishes. Water conducts electricity, allowing lightning to travel through plumbing systems.
  • Electrical equipment: Lightning can enter homes through power lines as well as antennas and satellite dishes. Do not use anything plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • Landlines: Lightning can travel long distances through phone lines. Mobile or cordless phones are much safer to use during bad weather.
  • Windows, doors, porches, and concrete: Lightning has been known to travel through metal wires and bars in concrete walls and flooring.

Protect Your Home

While lightning is unpredictable, there are a few safety precautions homeowners can take to protect their property.

  • Whole-house surge protectors can prevent damage to major appliances.
  • Unplugging electrical devices during storms can also save time and headaches.
  • And for those looking to go the extra mile, lightning rods with an accompanying protection system can help prevent fires and channel lightning safely away from the home.

Get Covered

No lightning safety system is completely storm-proof.

According to Taylor Thate, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Abilene, there are many types of basic coverage options available, but it’s important to understand exactly what situations are covered.

“You want to make sure you have the basic coverages — windstorm, hail, lightning, smoke, explosion, and theft — plus the extended perils,” Thate says. Those include a range of additional coverages such as broken glass, galling trees, frozen pipes, and building collapse due to weight of snow, sleet, or ice.

“All homeowners should sit down with their Agent every year and make sure they understand what they are covered for and what they are not covered for,” Thate advises.

Call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today to see if your home is protected from storms.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance