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Lightning strikes, computer dies...insurance?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Last night lightning struck a tree about 20-30 feet (approx) behind our house. I know it's not a great pic, but this is one I took last night. The window you see behind the tree is our kitchen window, the computer room is directly above that.



My husband's computer was a fatality. It is more directly in line with the window, whereas mine is more behind the wall. Mine got no damage. It appears to have been the EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) that damaged his computer. He was also working on his computer and I wasn't working on mine when the lightning struck.

OK, here's the real question of the thread. We do have homeowner's insurance, and Earl believes that our agent said that it would cover electronic/computer equipment up to $10,000. His computer is a custom-build, that has been put together over quite a while (in other words, we didn't spend this amount of money in one shot). When he went to NewEgg.com to price out what it would cost to replace the computer, it came to a little over $3,000. He uses it for radio/music production so it is a high-end system.

I don't think we have anything "special" as far as the insurance goes, and obviously our home office is closed on Sunday. Would his computer be covered in this circumstance? What type of process would this need to go through to submit a claim and get payment on it? He's really freaked out because one of their biggest shows of the year is coming up (the Halloween Special - it's an 80's heavy metal/rock show) and he can't work, nor can we afford to just pay for a new system for him while we wait.
post #2 of 22
Yes it should be covered

Normally, the company will ask you to get 2 prices to replace the computer exactly how it was when you lost it. I would call your company and ask. They are all different.

But no worries, It should def be covered...but subject to your homeowners deductible.
post #3 of 22
Depends on the insurance, but it should up to the natural limit of your policy. Mine (state farm) is default 3,000 - we bumped it up with all the goodies we have.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon View Post
Depends on the insurance, but it should up to the natural limit of your policy. Mine (state farm) is default 3,000 - we bumped it up with all the goodies we have.
Our limit here in Ontario for computers defaults to $5000...but you can buy an optional additional $5000.

If your limit is $10000 Heidi, you should be Do you know what deductible you have?
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Oh thank you Nat! I KNEW someone was in the industry, but I couldn't remember who. Our deductible is only $500. THAT we can come up with.

Tracey, Earl just said that he's sure that we bumped ours up too, because we do normally have 2-3 computer running, as well as all the home theater equipment (he's movie junkie too), etc. etc.

What proof would we need to show that it was the lightning that damaged it? How long would it take to get the money from the claim?
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Oh thank you Nat! I KNEW someone was in the industry, but I couldn't remember who. Our deductible is only $500. THAT we can come up with.

Tracey, Earl just said that he's sure that we bumped ours up too, because we do normally have 2-3 computer running, as well as all the home theater equipment (he's movie junkie too), etc. etc.

What proof would we need to show that it was the lightning that damaged it? How long would it take to get the money from the claim?
You'll have to call your company, they will most likely send an adjustor out to inspect the puter. Or they will have a computer guy come out and look at it. He will have to confirm that its not repairable too before they will replace it.
post #7 of 22
Not sure if it will be covered, I guess it depends on the insurance company. Was it plugged into a surge protector? A battery back-up/surge protector device might not be a bad investment for your next computer. They generally protect from things like that, and if you still have a failure, the manufacturer of the battery back-up will insure the computer.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is Earl, Heidi's husband just a footnote in regards to EMP from lightning, etc.: EMP travels through air, not just through wire. I do have an 1500va battery backup/surge protector, however, it does not protect it from EMP, unless I have a Faraday Cage around it which I am now considering building hence why my computer was hit but the surge protector did not kick in. Think of what a nuclear blast does with damaging electronics, but bring the notch down just a tad since its weak but can still do damage, like my computer. The one key thing why I know its EMP related was the fact that our TV's had to be degaussed since the screen's turned purple and blue. That was neat! And one of our Sat. Boxes went on the fritz. I hope this helps on what happened last night.
post #9 of 22
No worries Earl..lightning should be covered regardless
post #10 of 22
Im glad you guys are ok. There have been 2 trees struck by lightening outside our family home. The first time, my brother was on the phone and when it struck the tree somehow came through the phone and "shocked" him.

The 2nd it came through something and caused one of the bathrooms to catch on fire. Luckily someone was there to call the fire department.

Im glad you guys are safe and well. I hope everything goes smooth with the insurance company.
post #11 of 22
It should be covered. My brother's computer was ruined when lightning struck a hydro power transformer in our city and his home insurance paid for it. Of course he had to pay the deductable.

I would suggest investing in a good power surge bar. If a power surge happens it will trip the switch and block the surge from getting to your computer. I have 3 power surge bars. Two for my computer equipment (not enough outlets in one for all of my stuff) and one for my TV, VCR and Stereo.

Plus the surge protectors come with a warranty the covers equpiment damage too.
post #12 of 22
A note about surge protectors -- I was told that they lose some of their effectiveness every time there's a surge, and even mild surges that you don't notice will gradually wear them down. This was a few years ago, though, so there may be a new generation of protectors that aren't fragile...
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
We are both very well covered with surge protection. Both of us have both surge protectors AND battery backups. The EMP didn't come through the wires, or our surge protection would have kicked in and we would have lost a lot more than one computer. There are two computers and monitors, two printers, a TV, DVD player/stereo, and satellite receiver all in that room that were plugged in. The only thing really damaged was his system, that was in direct line of the window. This really was kind of a freak thing in that it was the electricity that traveled through the air by the lightning, not that the ground conducted the electricity through to the electrical wiring in the home.
post #14 of 22
Playing devil's advocate here. Was this his personal computer or a business computer? In other words, be very careful how you word this claim.
I could see them denying it because it was business equipment and you are claiming it on a personal policy.
post #15 of 22
I have claimed a computer back home from a lightning strike so in my experience they are covered, but in my case, I also had two windows replaced at the same time when the tree came through them.

I agree with Mom of 4 however, unless you told them you run a business from home and pay business insurance on them, I would tell them it is a high end toy - they can check the computer to check - some things used for business may not be insured under a home policy
post #16 of 22
Yeah, if you haven't clearly told your ins company that you have computers for business purposes, they may not be covered unles you have a business in the home endorsement on your policy.

If you don't have any business endorsement, I would just say they are for personal use Thats not coming from me though.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Here's the thing...while he does "work" on the computer for the radio show, there has been zero income from the radio show. So it's not really a "business" thing, you know? It is, but it isn't. I mean, he has responsibilities to complete with it, but he doesn't get anything out of it. I'll be sure to tell him that, though, not to say anything about it being business related.
post #18 of 22
Heidi, if there is no income, then its a personal computer. For real..thats good!!
post #19 of 22
My computer was struck by lightning a year ago in July. I had my computer guru guy check it out, and apparently it was pretty fried. He wrote a letter and a replacement estimate that I took to my insurance company. I had the cash for a new computer in less than a week. All I needed to replace was the CPU, the rest of the computer componants (monitor, keyboard, mouse & speakers) were okay. Oh...they also replaced my surge protector. I got a super-duper magnifico replacement combination surge protector/battery backup...much better than the one that fried. I just have regular homeowner's insurance, nothing special.
post #20 of 22
I'm a computer tech and many times whether or not a claim is covered depends on how I fill out the paperwork. A lot of the time if I write down "lightning" on the claim form, the insurance company won't cover the damage because lightning is an Act Of God. However, if I write "electrical surge" instead, then they cover it without issue. I fail to see the difference, but it all depends on how the policy is written.

Mez
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezlo View Post
I'm a computer tech and many times whether or not a claim is covered depends on how I fill out the paperwork. A lot of the time if I write down "lightning" on the claim form, the insurance company won't cover the damage because lightning is an Act Of God. However, if I write "electrical surge" instead, then they cover it without issue. I fail to see the difference, but it all depends on how the policy is written.

Mez
Having read this, I thought I'd go read the copy of the letter that Frank (my computer guru) wrote to my insurance company. It is as follows:

Reference Computer Gateway tower Serial#********* MFG Date 2/4/04 services on 8/7/06 Invoice #325981 appears to have suffered a power surge. Computer was not able to be repaired. Motherboard shows signs of blown resistor caps by processor unit.

Recommended computer tower to be replaced as present system is not repairable.


So perhaps it was the wording "power surge" that allowed it to be covered completely by my homeowners insurance. I didn't even have to pay a deductible.
post #22 of 22
The same thing happened to my family a couple years ago. Lightning struck and it ruined a bunch of electronical stuff. It was all covered by our insurance company. I would think yours would cover that sort of thing as well.
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