Measures could help prevent extensive lightning damage to your home, possessions

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several families are working to reconstruct their lives after lightning strikes led to at least three damaging fires overnight.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Insurance Discounts

  • Some insurance companies will offer extra discounts for installing lightning rods or power surge protectors.
  • However, we’re told you must document your purchases to show proof your safety measures were actually installed.

Experts say there are some things you can do not only to protect your house from lightning strikes, but also your belongings..

“If it hits the phone line it might come out through the phone, then it’s going to hit the next closest thing to the phone,” said Kyle Renna, a licensed insurance claims adjuster with Austin Realty Executives. “It can be a person’s foot, it can be a piece of electrical equipment. It could be a pet.”

Without the proper protection, Renna says a lightning damage can quickly run up a giant bill.

“It can be a 55 inch flat screen TV, it can be your washer, your dryer, your freezer, your refrigerator,” Renna added. “All of those items can add up to thousands of dollars.”

Master electrician Robert Strange says the best way to protect your home is installing a power surge unit on your breaker box or even a lightning rod on your roof.

“Whenever these ionized particles come in contact with the lightning rods it dissipates the energy into the ground rather than having an explosion,” Strange said.

But in the end, Renna concedes nothing is 100 percent safe. He says the best suggestion is to pull the plug.

“Unplug everything that you possibly can,” Renna said, “to insure that it doesn’t get damaged by lightning.”

Adjusters say damage to your electronics are usually covered by insurance, but they advise owners to not throw away any damaged electronics during your claims period.

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