Damage to U.S. homes due to lightning resulted in $1.2 billion being paid out in homeowners insurance claims in 2023.

Last year, lightning affected 70,000 policyholders, with $194 million attributable to Texas alone, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I.).

Based on national insurance claims data compiled to coincide with Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 23-29, 2024), the Triple-I estimates the total value of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims was up more than 30 percent in 2023 ($1.27 billion) from 2022 ($950 million).

The number of lightning-caused U.S. homeowners insurance claims increased by 13.8 percent between 2022 and 2023, from 62,189 to 70,787, with numbers from the top 19 claims states contributing to more than half (57 percent) of the total.

According to Triple-I’s estimates, the average cost per lightning-caused claim increased 14.6 percent from $15,280 in 2022 to $17,513 in 2023.

“Rising inflation, including higher replacement, construction and labor costs impacted claim costs for the year,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I. “Lightning Safety Awareness Week highlights the dangers lightning poses to life and property and how insurers and policyholders are reducing these risks through effective mitigation efforts.”

The result of warm, moist air rising from the earth, convective storms manifest in various ways, depending on atmospheric conditions – from drenching thunderstorms with lightning, to tornadoes, hail or destructive straight-line winds.

The state with the most thunderstorms, Florida, remained the top state for number of lightning claims in 2023, with 6,003. However, Texas had the highest average cost per claim at $41,654.

Lightning strikes can strike 100 times per second, according to the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI).

“Mitigating the risks of lightning strikes starts with a thorough assessment before a storm,” said Tim Harger, executive director at LPI, whose organization provides resources for the design, installation and inspection of lightning protection systems. “Lightning protection systems play a crucial role in safeguarding homes, businesses and communities from the potential downtime and destruction caused by lightning strikes.”