Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 6, 2010

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Insurance Question from Valdese, NC

Asked on 10/06/2010

Insurance claim for lightning damage. Hi! My car's electrical system was destroyed ironically following a storm. The repairs that the car has received ended up being a 3 month process. They ruled out any other mechanical failures that could have caused this. the alternator was tested at the time and again ruled out a spike, power surge. so far the mechanic has replaced 2 computer modules, alternator, battery and all of my bulbs plus a couple of cables. The radio tuner and amplifier is dead and also my airbag(srs) module is shot. So far that is all of the evident damage. The mechanic(mazda dealership) says it was lightning damage. There was a terrible storm the night before I realized something was wrong the next morning. When I filed the claim, there was a code and others had filed claims for damage from that very same night, in my area.When the adjuster came to look at the car, he did not agree because he says there was no physical burns or no evidence of an entry and exit point of lightning. I've been told by at least 2 other professional mechanics that it happens more often than thought without showing physical damage. My insurance company(Nationwide) says that if I can come up with something that is more proof, then they would be willing to pay. Also there were 2 other cars there with similar damage. There insurance companies had no problem paying. Can you help me with this?

Answer given on November 05, 2010

Your damage to your car is quite unusual.  The adjuster is not being unreasonable by denying due to no proof of lightning damage.  However, since the mechanics seem to feel there is the possibility of such damage, I think you should pursue this. 

You said there was a code – was it a code the car computer system issued?  If so, has the mechanic discussed this with the adjuster? 

I would suggest you speak with your agent to see if they can offer any assistance.  If not, you should ask to speak to the adjuster’s supervisor and be prepared to outline your situation, including the mechanic’s statement.  The company may still decline.  You indicated there was no spike or power surge, which seems should have occurred if there was lightning damage.

On a final note, you may contact your manufacturer to see if they can offer any assistance.


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