Electrical surge damage

Claims involving lightning damage can be significant and impact your ability to operate effectively. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, damages caused by lightning may exceed $5 to $6 billion per year. On average, lightning damage claims reported by Markel’s camp clients result in $4,245 per event. These damages typically involve various electronics critical to daily operations like computers, phones, phone lines, and printers. Without these tools, valuable time and stored data can be lost. 

Damage from electrical power surges is one of the leading causes of failure for equipment dependent on electricity. While the most obvious source is from lightning, surges can come from a variety of other sources too. Power surges may come from external sources like lightning and internal sources like fax machines, copiers, and air conditioners. 

Protecting your business equipment from electrical surge damages can involve utilizing some easy-to-implement strategies. One overlooked source of power surge damage comes from failing to install surge protection to telephone/fax lines, cable or satellite systems, and local area network coax cable. Power surges can quickly travel along these sources of electric current, damaging your equipment. You can increase your chances of avoiding costly repairs and downtime by adding a surge protector to these systems as well as to your AC plug. Make sure the surge protector is properly sized for the system it will protect and is properly installed. The clamping voltage of a surge protector determines the spike voltage that will cause the protective components within it to divert unwanted energy from the protected line. A lower clamping voltage indicates better protection but can sometimes result in a shorter life expectancy for the overall protective system. It is important to conduct additional research for the best protection for the equipment you are installing.

Additional recommendations:

  • Install your surge protection device as close as possible to the equipment being protected.
  • Keep cable lengths short and as straight as possible to minimize the restive path of the circuit to ground.
  • Make sure connections to your surge protector are solid by pushing the plug completely into the socket.
  • Only purchase surge protectors equipped with indicators that show the circuit is grounded and the unit is operating properly. This allows for easy inspection.
  • Consult with a licensed electrician to ensure that your electrical distribution system is grounded correctly. If you lease your building, this step can be critical to your equipment’s survival.
  • Check with your insurance agent or representative to confirm you have proper coverage for your computers and laptops.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

For safety or risk management questions or suggestions, please contact Markel.

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