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Auto Insurance Claims/Denied claim to RV damage . Lightnng strike


While driving through Texas in our motor home we were hit by a lightnng strike. When the lightning hit us it stalled the motor home for a second or two, unbeknown to us that  activated the auto park brake. All the lights on the dash started flashing as the engine restarted. We continued driving trying to figure out what had just happened. We were on a freeway lookng for a safe place to pull over, and finally found a rest stop a few miles up the road.
When we stopped  my wife who was driving pushed the parking brake button , and a big cloud of smoke  came up from underneath the motor home, we thought it was on fire. we turned the engine off  and got out of the motorhome and The smoking stopped.  Upon further investigating I determined that the smoke was brake fluid leaking on the hot auto parking brake when  my wife put it in park.
The parking brake that is located on the end of the transmission was totally fried and would not work or hold the veh. In place.  I managed to disconnect it and we made our way home.
The motor home jacks did not work at that time either, and started flashing the second the lightning strike hit us.  
Upon arriving home we were told that the damages should be covered by our comprehensive insurance policy by a relative who works for another insurance company.
We filed a claim with our insurance company and they denied our claim, stating the damage was due to driving several miles with the parking brake on. The denial letter did not even state  anythng about the lighting or storm that we were in or the circumstances leading up to the brake being activated.
Although our comprehensive policy does not state anything about lightning , it does say that we would be covered for hail, flood, water damage. Personnel property might be covered  in a lightnng strike.  
Several other insurance agents that work for other componies review our case and believe the damage would be covered.
Was hoping to get another  opinion from you an expert to see what my options are, and if you believe I have a valid claim. There's over 5000 worth of damages to the parking brake and jack system.

Thanks for your time

John Holzberger


  You do have a tough one.  In fact, it is so tough that it will require a jury or judge in my opinion.  It is a matter of whether or not the damage was caused by the lightning strike or by the continued use of the vehicle after the strike.  Additionally, proving lightning damages can be almost impossible if the damages are electronic in nature.  I wish I could give you an easy fix, but in my opinion your case is novel.  I have never had a claim where someone was struck by lightning as they were driving down the road.  I can see both sides of the coverage issue.  On one side, you had no way to know what damage had occurred and may have been in a location that was not safe or practical to stay put.  The flip side is that you had no way to know what damage had occurred and should have stopped and called for alternative transportation or a tow to avoid further damage.  I will go out on a limb and disagree that it would be covered.  Mitigation is the key here.  The insurance company can properly argue that you did not mitigate properly and that your actions caused the damages, not the lightning strike, and damaged caused by driving with the brake on are generally not covered.  All that being said, I would be very curious as to what a jury would say after hearing all the facts and reading the insurance policy.  Sorry I couldn't give you a definite answer John.

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Justin Petty


Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.


Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

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Platinum Author ( All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

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State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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