As a general practice around here, nobody installs whole house surge protectors on new houses. That is usually left for indivudual surge protectors of specific items like computers. A surge protector will not stop a nearby or direct hit by lightning which can melt the entire panel and start a big fire.
That said I know of a lightning strike last spring that did over $10,000 damage to a house. Also insurance companies paid a bunch of claims last spring where a lightning strike many blocks away caused a surge on every line hooked to that substation covering that part of town and many people still got new computers/appliances even though they were blocks away.
So a whole house protector can't hurt. Neither can an extra ground rod. Then still have a backup battery power supply/surge protector for computers, stereos, vcrs, tvs, etc. The backup on the vcr will help keep the clock running. Finally a lightning rod system may be in order. Depending upon everyone's budget and concern. There are many commercial concerns/radio&tv stations with lots of high priced computer/electrical equipment that have these protections.