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3 Tips to Protect Your Home Against Lightning Storms

By Jarrod Heil

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Lightning strikes are an extremely common occurrence and pose an imminent danger to homes around the country. Luckily, home builders realized this threat decades ago and most homes come standard with forms of protection from lightning storms.

But the exponential damage that can be created by lightning should make you step back and ask yourself if your home is properly prepared and covered if an incident does occur.

From installing your own home residential lightning protection system to the additional steps you can take with each storm, these three tips can help you protect your home and gain peace of mind in the process.

1. Use a Residential Lightning Protection System

Because the threat of lightning strikes are so severe and common, every home in the United States comes standard with some forms of residential lightning protection systems.

But that doesn’t mean the already installed system is going to prevent your home from falling victim to a devastating lightning strike.

There are a few more additions you can make to your system, so you can protect your home to the fullest and have some peace of mind during those intense lightning storms happening outside your windows.

Lightning Rods

Lightning rods can be a lifesaver. Also called air terminals, lightning rods are made of copper and aluminum and attached to your home’s roof at regular intervals to intercept lightning strikes when they’re headed toward your home.

Surge Protectors, Arresters and Suppressors

Whole-home surge protection could be the difference between stopping an internal electrical fire and losing your entire home to a single lightning strike. Nowadays, most homes are built standard with surge protection devices, but some old homes may not be.

Surge protectors, arresters and suppressors use metal oxide varistors to prevent overvoltage to your home’s electrical system in the event a lightning strike occurs and creates a surge, which is an unexpected increase in electrical current to a source.

Main Conductors

Similar to lightning rods, main conductors are also crafted from copper and aluminum to attract electrical currents from lightning strikes. However, they’re different because the main conductors are braided cables that connect to grounds and other components in your home lightning protection system.


Grounds are required for all structures nowadays, but that doesn’t mean you can be too overly cautious. Grounds are rods that are stuck at least 10 feet deep in the surface around your home. They help to eliminate any potential damage to your home from lightning strikes in the area.

2. Unplug Appliances and Electronics During Storm

Not only can lightning strike your home with primary force, but it can strike the ground near your home and take a secondary path into your home through electrical wires buried in the ground.

That could spell huge trouble for your home and the appliances and electronics that are plugged in.

If a lightning storm hits your home, it can cause an instantaneous house fire that may not be able to be controlled, posing a risk to you and your family. But the fire may not come from a direct hit to your roof or home’s siding.

Even if you’ve installed a system for lightning protection methods, the devastating effects of lighting hitting your home are still a real danger and can cause the appliances and electronics that are plugged into your home to surge and start an electrical fire from within your home.

If a lightning storm hits in the area of your home and its power goes through the ground and hits your home’s electrical wiring, that’s called a secondary path — and it’s an extremely common way many lightning storm fires occur.

3. Invest in a Home Insurance Policy

Even if you’ve installed a tremendous residential lightning protection system and unplugged all your appliances and electronics from outlets during each storm, accidents can still happen. You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, and she can be relentless at times.

That’s why having the proper home insurance policy in place can make a world of a difference.
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Homeowners insurance can protect the physical structure of your home, all your personal belongings you keep inside your home and many other things on your property. It can be a lifesaver to fight against the unknown whims of nature.

Even if you don’t own the home you live in, renters insurance can help reimburse you for your personal belongings that are damaged or destroyed in a lightning storm — and many other instances.

And if the storm happens to damage your home so badly that you must temporarily move out, Loss of Use Coverage in home insurance policies can help to pay for a rental property or hotel of equivalent value, extra expenses for storage and many other expenses you face for having to temporarily move.

Lightning damage isn’t cheap, and it’s often extensive. If you have the proper home insurance plan in place, you can avoid paying out of pocket for all those expensive repairs.

Check your current home insurance policy to make sure your coverage is up to standards or enroll in home insurance coverage that protects you against life’s unknowns.