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Guide to High Voltage Surge Claims with Electronics

High voltage surges, and other voltage fluctuations, affect thousands of electrically powered items annually. Use this guide to understand how they occur and why they are problematic for claims. 

What Are Surges?

Electrical surges are voltage fluctuations in the electrical circuit that may occur regularly or irregularly based on the source of the surge conditions. Increases or spikes in voltage can last anywhere from a few milliseconds to several minutes depending on the nature of the electrical event. 
Voltage irregularities include: 
  • Over/undervoltage – Voltage is greater or less than nominal voltage by 10% for more than a minute

  • Short-term voltage fluctuations – Surges that could include transients, sags and dips, and swells in voltage levels that can last less than a minute

  • Voltage imbalance – Occurs when unequal loads are on a distribution line or within a facility, frequently caused by a single-phase motor on a three-phase circuit

  • Intermittent supply failures – Supply system faults, equipment failures, or control equipment malfunctions cause supply system failures that can last up to a minute 

Test Your Knowledge: Undervoltage doesn’t affect electronics. True or False

False: For consumer electronics, undervoltage could cause consumer electronics to shut down or have data corruption. It could also cause electronics with electric motors to overheat to make up for the loss of power. 

Main Causes of High Voltage Surges 

Nearby or indirect lightning strikes can cause surges 
Electrical Grid Changes
Damage to power lines or transformers or fluctuations in power travels to a policyholders’ property and causes surge damage
Power Outages
Once power returns, electronics may be impacted by the sudden influx in power
High-Power Electrical Devices 
Devices that consume a high amount of electricity may affect other devices or components in the electrical system when powered on or off
Other Storm
Snow and wind may impact electrical equipment or cause a power outage that could lead to a surge
Transformers, Wires, Electrical Poles
Car accidents, animals, and fires can cause damage to utility poles and transformers leading to voltage fluctuations

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Why Should Adjusters Care About Surges?

High voltage surges were the most common cause of loss to equipment that StrikeCheck assessed in 2021. This peril can impact any electrical component, but it doesn’t always require full replacement of an insured’s property. A comprehensive evaluation would determine if repairs could return equipment to pre-loss condition. 
Damage from surges doesn’t occur over time. This is more a sign of wear and tear.  An equipment expert would be able to tell the difference.

High voltage surge was the actual cause of loss for half the electronics StrikeCheck evaluated last year. 

Anything with an electronic component could be impacted by surge.

Consumer Electronics

Laptop Computers, Phones, Networking Equipment



Refrigerators, Televisions, Washers/Dryers



Outlets, Wiring, Electrical


Outdoor Equipment 

Pool Equipment, Lights, Solar Panels

Get expert support for claims with electronics.

StrikeCheck has experts throughout the country who will provide cause of loss and scope of damage determinations to ensure you have what you need to settle the claim. 
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