33 Underlying Reasons for Presuming Cause and Effect

At this point it is worth examining the underlying reasons why people readily presume a cause-and-effect relationship between thunderstorms and the finding of a failed well pump afterward. First is the fact that lightning and electrical appliances do have electricity in common. Lightning can cause electrical surges to occur when it strikes a power line, and electrical surges, when strong enough, can cause damage to electrical appliances and motors. Thus, when there has been a thunderstorm in the area and a well pump has failed afterwards, it is simply presumed that this coincidence signifies that lightning struck a power line, created a surge, and that this surge traveled along the power line until it reached the well pump and caused it to fail.

Secondly, and likely the most powerful reason, however, is the fact that insurance companies usually pay for lightning damaged well pumps, but usually do not pay for other types of well pump failures. Since replacement of a well pump is not a trivial expense, this is a powerful incentive for a homeowner or service person to overlook evidence that might otherwise indicate a normal failure from wear or age. Why would any person go out of his way to deliberately look for evidence that would cause him to lose money from the insurance company? Thus, this is why most claims of lightning damage to well pumps do not cite any specific, verifiable physical evi dence to confirm the cause of damage, but do prominently note the coincidence of a thunderstorm shortly before the pump failed.

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