I read somewhere that surge protectors don't have enough joules of protection for a lightening strike; however, if Joez says it protected him.... I believe it. Maybe the surge protector sacrfices itself ? (and those parts can be replaced in the $250 units -EMS PT30C from Progessive Industries https://www.rvupgradestore.com/Articles.asp?ID=279
) I know that if there is a surge from power coming back on after an outage you are protected.
The link above gives comparison to other units, as well as the PT30C protction. Unfortunately, I simply didn't have enough room near my elecrical area to permanently install, so I have to put an alarm on it (don't like having a quarter of a grand laying around for some bad apple to take).
Some will protect you from reverse polarity, if the wiring at the park isn't grounded properly, and almost all take care of a low voltage (when too much demand is placed on the park's electrical system) by shutting the power off. Mine has a delay of 3 minutes before it will allow the current to come back to the rig, just in case the voltage was a temporary thing. That way your air conditioner compressor won't get yanked around.
Getting back to jmfc46's question: Overall, I think it's kind of a pay me now or pay me later thing. I have heard some do have and some don't...... I just figure who wants the hassel of replacing electronics (which will definitely cost you more).
BTW, I use a computer alarm (Defcon1 to protect this investment - as well as my filter system) http://www.targus.com/us/productdetail.aspx?sku=pa400u
One more note to a fellow newbie.... always turn off the circuit breaker before attaching your electronics. It keeps the plugs from getting burnt, which will prevent damage that will eventually ruin your umbilical cables.