According to data released earlier this month by the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average value of lightning damage claims from US households rose 93 percent from 2004 to 2011, topping off at $5,112, its highest point since a freak surge in 2007. But over the same period, the number of claims actually paid out fell by one third.

While at first glance the figures might appear to reflect rising home electronics prices, what they really seem to testify to is the increasing interconnectedness of the modern living room, with complex TV/set-top box/games console setups liable to taken out in one fell swoop. The data also suggests that consumers, increasingly aware of the value of their gadgets, are becoming more savvy about installing surge protectors and other defensive measures.

Loretta Worters, vice president of the III, points out the potential effect of rising prices, but downplays it in comparison with the sheer speed at which consumers are adopting new and vulnerable devices.