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Lightning strikes reach the ground as often as eight million times per day or 100 times per second, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. (Photo: Marc/Shutterstock) Lightning strikes reach the ground as often as eight million times per day or 100 times per second, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. (Photo: Marc/Shutterstock)

If you had to guess which peril results in the biggest insurance losses for homeowners, you might be tempted to say theft because of all those ads for home security systems. But you would be way off.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, property loss from theft is actually on the decline, at only 1% in 2017. On the other hand, fire and lightning losses accounted for 35% of all losses that year and are by far among the costliest insurance risks. More than $900 million in lightning claims were paid out last year to nearly 78,000 policyholders, and the average cost per claim increased a staggering 21% between 2016 and 2018 to an average of nearly $12,000 per claim. Increased labor and construction costs as well as the growing popularity of smart home products are the main causes of this increase.

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