Property damage from lightning strikes has been estimated to be between 4 and 5 billion dollars each year. Claims associated with lightning strike damage are an area where forensic engineering and assessment may be needed in order to determine the extent of damage to a structure and its components.
Based on experience, most claims that involve lightning damage stem primarily from claims in the insurance industry for reported failures of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) outdoor units and from failures of well pump motors. Other reported damages include brick masonry chimneys, commercial and industrial motors, and components of electrical equipment. Damage to electrical equipment from lightning is caused by high voltages that occur quickly enough that the surge protection is bypassed. For items such as the contactor and/or run capacitor on an air conditioning outdoor unit blackened or melted items are signs of lighting damage. Damage occurs to brick masonry where the moisture in the brick is rapidly vaporized, causing the brick to be damaged as if it exploded.