Lightning poses a significant risk of property damage to both homeowners and renters, causing fires and power surges that damage electronic devices. The Insurance Information Institute reported that lightning strikes cost $ 739 million in insurance losses for homeowners in 2014, 9.7 percent more than in 2013. Additionally, the report noted that the number of claims was declining (due to to lightning protection system technology) and the average cost per claim was increasing. , as damaged electronic components become more expensive.

Whether you are a homeowner or a tenant, there are steps you can take to prevent damage to your property. Here are four ways to protect your home from lightning:

1. Use a Home Lightning Protection System

One of the best ways for homeowners in particular to protect their homes from lightning strikes is to install a home lightning protection system. KXAS-TV, an NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, cited research by Underwater Laboratories, which indicated that a properly installed system is approximately 99 percent effective in preventing lightning damage. Lightning protection systems can include:

  • Lightning rod
  • Main drivers
  • Gardens
  • Captivity
  • Surge protectors

According to the Lightning Protection Institute, a lightning protection system is a combination of highly conductive copper and aluminum materials that are used to provide a low resistance path to safely ground dangerous electricity from lightning. The Lightning Protection Institute also noted that homeowners can receive a credit on their homeowners insurance by installing a lightning protection system.

2. Unplug Electronics and Appliances

In addition to causing structural fires, lightning strikes can damage electronic components in your home. Dan Robinson of Storm Highway explained that lightning can cause surge damage if they use your home's electrical wiring system as a primary or secondary route. Robinson pointed out that electrical surge can damage even non-electrical appliances. An easy step that both landlords and renters can take to avoid electrical damage is to unplug any electronics or appliances before a storm.

3. Install Surge Suppressors

There will always be times when you are not available to unplug your electronic devices, such as on vacation. One way to ensure that your electronic devices are always protected from lightning is to install surge protectors. According to Allstate, transient surge protectors connect to computers and other electronic equipment to limit the voltage to 1.5 time’s normal voltage.

4. Check Your Homeowners and Renters Insurance Coverage.

Even if you take all the precautionary measures, you'll want to make sure your homeowners insurance and renter’s insurance plans cover lightning damage. Not all insurance plans are created equal, so make sure yours covers damage to your home and electronic devices.

It's especially important to make sure you're covered for lightning damage if you live in an area that has frequent electrical storms.

Read more:

Need to Know When to Replace the Surge Protector

Lightning Protection System for Health Care Facilities to Protect Lightning Strikes