Similar to other home security measures that reduce expected losses for insurers, lightning protection systems provide valuable loss mitigation against a costly weather hazard that affects millions of homeowners in the U.S. Statistically, lightning is the most commonly experienced weather hazard, unlike earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes or hurricanes, which are more likely to affect homeowners in certain geographical regions of the country. Unpredictable weather hazards continue to incur costly losses, which is why insurance companies are recognizing the importance of rewarding loss mitigation efforts by offering premium credits and discounts. When homeowners take steps to better protect their property against weather hazards affecting their geographical region, insurance companies take notice! This can translate into insurance companies rewarding their savvy customers by lowering the cost of their homeowners policies.
In most states insurance companies offer premium credits for security systems, fire alarms, residential sprinkler systems, permanently installed back-up generators and other protective measures for the entire external perimeter of the home. Lightning protection systems are recognized as “protection for the entire external perimeter of the home” and as such, are often considered for credits.
So, how does a homeowner go about securing an insurance credit or discount for their lightning protection system installation? Well, quite simply, the homeowner might need to ask. Since some insurance providers don’t have set policies regarding lightning protection credits or incentives, the homeowner may need to contact their agent or broker for assistance in determining their eligibility for a discount.
Here are some tips for homeowners to keep in mind when inquiring about insurance discounts:
• Ask the insurance agent or broker if the lightning protection system installation is applicable for a discount or credit under “security protection for external perimeter” or “weatherproofing mitigation” guidelines.
• Make sure that the lightning protection system is installed by a qualified LPI-certified installer in accordance with LPI, NFPA and UL safety standards so that the installation meets quality assurance requirements.
• Request that the installing firm provide system compliance information (inspection or proof of installation document) to forward to the insurance provider upon completion of their service.
• Ask the insurance provider about discounts for loss mitigation efforts. If premiums are being lowered for mitigation efforts for earthquakes (frame anchoring, bracing cripple walls, strapping a water heater in place, etc.) or for hurricanes (roof bracing, hurricane shutters, or retrofitted doors), then loss mitigation for lightning may be applicable for discount, as well.
• Acquaint your insurance provider with lightning loss statistics (lightning cost more than a billion dollars in insured losses in 2011 and the average homeowner claim was approximately $5,122.) The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) http://www.iii.org is a good resource for obtaining lightning loss information.
• Link your insurance provider with lightning protection industry resources that provide information and continuing education services, such as the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) http://www.lightning.org and the Lightning Safety Alliance (LSA) http://www.lightningsafetyalliance.org if the provider has questions or needs more information.
Some of the insurance providers known to provide credits, incentives, discounts and recommendations for lightning protection systems include: AIG Private Client Group, Chubb, Saint Paul Travelers, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, the Hartford and Citizens/Hanover Insurance. LPI invites insurance providers who are interested in sharing their customer incentives for lightning protection to contact us at email@example.com.
Lightning is an extremely powerful force that should never be underestimated. A single bolt of lightning can pack up to 100 million volts of devastating electricity—which is why an ounce of prevention (a professionally installed lightning protection system) can be worth a pound of cure!