When lightening strikes

When lightening strikes

Just wanted to give you a heads up as to why I didn’t post the last two mornings. This has been a pretty exciting week for me and I’ve probably beaten the odds on a couple of things. First my article on How to cure a sore throat almost instantly was picked up by Digg and Reddit early this week and ended up as the #1 story on both sites for a good day or so on Monday and Tuesday. Then on Wednesday my house got struck by lightening, which in turn fried our television, my wireless router, and all the internal phone lines, which means I don’t have access to internet at home which makes it tough to blog.

Edit: 3/26/2007 – still no internet at home – will play electrician tonight and have something for tomorrow on my thoughts on helping our kids out on their college education.

A couple things I learned from this experience.

  • Plug Expensive things like televisions into surge protectors. Probably something not a lot of people think about, but probably a smart thing to do. Not sure if things like refrigerators and freezers have built in surge protection, but it might not be a bad idea to make sure all your big ticket items are protected.
  • Lightening is pretty powerful stuff and is pretty unpredictable. The lightening strike tripped about half of our breakers in our house as well as most of the breakers in the neighbor’s houses.
  • Just because something is plugged into a surge protector does not mean it is safe. My wireless router was plugged into a surge protector and was still fried. Funny part is the other 4 items in the surge protector survived the strike. Router must have been more sensitive to the surge.
  • Home owners insurance is better for large scale disasters. In this case I have a $500 deductible and will be hard pressed to get much over that value. I’d have been much better off if about 10 other things in my house had fried, then I could have shopped around when replacing them and helped recoup some of the cost of my deductible
  • I am an internet addict. Not having internet for the last two days has been incredibly tough for me. I’m swear I’m starting to get the shakes by not being able to keep up with my RSS feeds and blogging. At the same time its a little liberating be unplugged for a day or two (unplugged meaning I’m only on the computer for 8 hours a day at work)
  • I’m really a moron without the internet. I sort of pride myself in being able to be very knowledgeable on just about any subject at hand. Reason for this is before I do anything I spend a couple hours on the internet researching it. Example I want to find the best way to fix the wiring in my house and best way to propose my claim to the insurance company, but without the internet I’m clueless and it will probably end up costing me more money that it should have.
  • Emergency funds make incidents like this a lot more bearable. Granted you don’t necessarily have to replace everything that is lost in a situation like this (maybe a good time to decide the value of the item and whether you really need it), but having that peace of mind that you don’t have to take on more debt to recover from unexpected situations like this make it all that much more bearable. Our emergency fund is pretty light right now, but fortunately we should be able to handle this situation. Now when both of our cars break down next week, it might be a different story.

Anyway hopefully I get something figured out this weekend and will be back in the swing of things next week. If I have to I’ll run a phone cord from the outside jack through a window and into my office if I have to. I’ve never made a claim on my homeowners insurance before so I’ll probably learn a thing or two in the process and if I learn anything interesting I’ll report back.

  • Papa Rage

    I would strongly recommend against filing a claim against your homeowners insurance for anything that isn’t catastrophic. Especially being that you didn’t lose much and it’s barely over your deductible. There is a very good chance they will decide to raise your rates or find you “uninsurable” when it’s time to renew and drop you like a rock. Seriously, they will pay your claim but they will treat you badly when you file a claim, so it’s best to save it for when lightning strikes a tree and it falls on your house.

    For this reason I recommend increasing your deductible to $2,500; since it’s so bad to file claims for small things, you might as well get a lower premium.

  • MFJ

    See I was originally wondering just that. Asked around in the office and was told that home owners isn’t like that and that they wouldn’t raise my premium just because of a small claim. Interesting to hear the other side. I sent the info to him and am waiting to hear back from him on costs….not sure if that means I officially filed or not. Going to give him a call though to clarify.


  • Jad

    Guess your post Get Rich!! Play the Lottery!! Somebody has to win!! came true regarding that you are more likely to be struck by lightning!

  • MFJ

    @Jad – yeah I was going to try work that in there somewhere as proof of concept. Guess I’ll be a little more careful around the neighborhood dogs and in the bath tub next couple days as long as I’m on a “lucky” streak 😉

    Called insurance agent and he will let me wait a week before officially filing to see what the costs will be. My biggest concern is the phone wiring in my house. I’m sure it can be done DIY although I’m not the handiest person in the world. I’ve got to think that having someone come out and rewire all my phone jacks would be relatively expensive. Anyone got any advice in this area?

  • The question is “Does lighting strike twice?” If not, don’t worry about it.

  • I’m glad there was not more damage! My wife’s house was hit when she was very young and it started a fire.

    I have my electronics plugged into surge protectors, because they make the most convenient way to get enough plugs. Electronics kinda flock together- Router, phone router for vonage, vcr, dvd, tv receiver, etc. And at the dest, cell charger, laptop charger, printer, lamp, camera battery charger, lava lamp, etc.

    Good question about the fridge, and other appliances.

    I also wonder if your surge protector has any kind of guarantee- it might offset the cost of a new router…

  • Erica

    Your sore throat is gone and your house has been hit by lightening. I think you are in the throes of Kundalini.

  • Ann

    Hate to scare you guys if you think lightning doesn’t strike twice. Our home was hit June 10 and then June 12th. We were just finishing replacing sprinkler system, water purifyer system, 5 TV’ et. when were hit again this am, August 25th. So be ware, just hope this last one is it. Can’t go through much more. Each claim had $l,000 deductible plus they pay replacement value what they think it should be instead of realistic and they don’t pay that if you don’t replace it. We do not need 5 tv’s now but they won’t let usd just put the money towardes 2 tv’s instead. Now with the third hit, they will probably cancel us after 30 years but having 3 hits in a couple of months is not good. We have Farmers Ins.


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