Lightning Protection

I've read on other posts that a whole house arrestor is the best protection against damage from lightning strikes. Can anybody describe what having an arrestor installed would entail? Is this something the power company has to perform, or can any qualified electrician do the work? How expensive is it? How effective is it, or do I have to supplement the arrestor with other safeguards?

I have a friend who has had his house hit twice and his boat hit twice.
SQUARE-D Makes a surge arrester for residental. I think it's around $300.00 or a little less. This is a great first line of defense against any unwanted spikes coming in off the line. These can be installed by an electrician in about one hour.

True lightning protection is another animal. You need to install a lightning rod or rods and grounding grid. Better have someone who knows lightning protection systems over to do the work.
If it hits you house or even very close, ther isn't much you can do to protect electronic stuff.

I live where a close hit happens most years. Over the years, I had a surge protector installed by my utility company on our pole mounted transfromer, a surge protector on my main electrical box and a surge protector on my electrical box dedicated to my audio system. I also have dedicated AC lines/additional grounds and power conditioners on all audio components. With all this, most years, we loose somthing on our sat dish (either an LNB or a motor). I have all this documented for my insurance agent. I also keep an up to date list of components(including interconnects and speaker cables) for my 2 current systems. I even had copies sent to the insurance company office for review before I signed the policy.

I did this after a hit killed my stat system, new large screen TV, pre-amp and power amps. My insurance company at the time expected a local audio shop to repair my stuff. After weeks of angry calls and letters, they finally replaced the TV (after the local TV shop admitted their repair attempts had not worked), replaced the sat receiver and offered a small replacement budget for my pre-amp and mono amps(Adcom 750 and Adcom 300w amps bought mail order).

I immediately started looking for a new insurance company and new electronics. I upgraded to Erie insurance through a local agent who came for a listen, Aloia pre-amp, Plinius amps and a whole second system all from established dealers...

Your best bet is to have a complete list of your audio/video equipment, go over it with your insurance agent so when a claim is made, there is no question of what the replacement value is, who can determine the damage and in the case of out of date components, who can recommend a replacement. Often, a very high end system will require an additional ridder, but the cost is small compared to the problems of trying to get the uninformed agent to pay on a standard home policy. Also, a reliable dealer who can support you is invaluable when an expensive component must be replaced (as is almost always the case with pre-amps and digital gear).