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6/1/2011 - Thunderstorms can wreak havoc on properties


While they generally aren't classified as natural disasters, thunderstorms can also cause significant damage.

While tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes tend to make the headlines, the Insurance Information Institute says thunderstorms can be every bit as damaging. In fact, because they're so frequent - lightning strikes the U.S. about 25 million times per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - the insurance industry has paid $30 billion in property damage claims over the past three years for them.

With this in mind, the III says it's important to prepare for weather-related disasters before they strike.

"The recent devastation across multiple states demonstrates the need for everyone to prepare for severe weather," said Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the III. "No matter where you live, you need to have the right amount and type of insurance to protect yourself financially."

Standard business insurance policies protect owners from incurring financial hardship should they be impacted by storms. They also cover medical expenses should someone be hurt. The NOAA says 300 injuries occur each year as a result of lightning.

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