Insurance and Electronic Repair Claims – Understanding Latent Surge Damage

How often have you visited a home and found that several pieces of equipment were not working properly or were totally destroyed.  The owner of the home is upset and needs some sort of an explanation.  Sometimes there was a storm in the area and sometimes not.  The effected equipment may or may not be items that you recommended and sold.  Maybe your customer questions you about what caused the equipment failure and what can be done to prevent this from happening again.  While the insurance company may pay for the claim this time, they are not going to tell you what happened and are not going to tell you what to do to prevent future equipment failures.

Although notice can be sent to the insurance company promptly when it is likely that lightning has affected equipment, a total list of the destroyed equipment should not be furnished to the insurance company until just before the deadline for reporting the list of affected equipment is reached.   To collect on an insurance claim for property damage there must be a defined event, such as an electrical storm, or a vehicle hitting a pole.  Unfortunately, the insurance company will normally not pay for equipment that fails months after the storm.  This means that even though electronic failure has been caused by degradation due to a lightning strike, the failure cannot be proven to have occurred as a result of a lighting strike.

Insurance companies know they are usually getting off easy because they are only going to pay for the damage you can prove was the fault of that event.  Although your customer may feel relieved to have all down equipment up and running right away, that doesn’t mean that other equipment has not suffered severe degradation to circuit chips that will cause premature failure within the next year.

So, even though a lightning strike takes out a TV and some LED lights, the controls on the range, the refrigerator, and several more lights may all fail in a month or two. Then, the controls for the HVAC may start acting up.  A compressor and more lights may prematurely fail in another five or six months. All of this is the result of latent damage from the electrical storm that occurred months ago.  Eliminate latent damage with a whole home surge protection system.  See the TPD whole home protection guide.