Most homeowners insurance policies will cover lightning-related damages, including lightning-induced surges that cause malfunctions in laptop computers, appliances, wiring and other electrically powered items. Costs for lightning-related claims have risen, though the number of these claims has trended downward since 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Policyholders often link lightning to high voltage surge losses, but adjusters should know that other types of weather result in surge claims throughout the year.

According to an N.C. State College of Natural Resources News article, the number of major power outages caused by weather-related events has increased by 67% since 2000. Problems arise when power is restored with an influx of voltage at a greater level than an item can handle. This increase in electrical power can last anywhere from a few milliseconds to several minutes. Depending on its intensity, the electrical system and anything plugged into it can suffer immediate damage. Wind, ice storms, and heat waves are among the meteorological conditions that have become more prevalent in the United States and can lead to voltage fluctuations.

It is not always possible to determine why a surge loss occurred. However, if the adjuster verifies that a high voltage surge is the cause of loss, there are options. Certain components, such as a control board, may be replaced, which is considered a repair, to return equipment to pre-loss condition. Other times, a policyholder may not be able to repair equipment, or it could cost more to repair than to fully replace the claimed items.

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