New home power protection?

This summer I'm moving to SW MI where thunder storms are common.  They are rare where I live currently so have not worried about them here.  But with stories from others about damaged electronics from lightening I have questions since I'm not familiar with any of this.

1.  Is whole house surge protection at the panel effective and worthwhile?

2.  Apparently cable and phone line protection is separate and must be added to the panel protection.  I assume this is appropriate to add if going for whole house protection?

3.  The realtor ask about adding a generator.  I assume that is a separate issue to provide temporary power during an outage but does not offer line surge protection, correct?  The generator is triggered after the power fails, with or without a major surge (although that may be quite rapid), correct?

Thanks if you have knowledge on this issue to share. 
Since I live in Florida and we have 110+ lightning storms per year, I have a little bit of experience and knowledge.

1.  The only thing that may protect you from a direct strike is a properly installed and maintained lightning rod system....a whole house surge protector will not.  But, if you go with lightning rods, you need the whole house surge protection also because a direct hit will result in a ground shunted surge.

2.  A whole house surge protector will protect you if lightning hits your neighbors flag pole and then manages to find your wires as a pathway into your house...if you use a whole house surge protector and then individual surge protectors on your will be reasonably protected...but not 100%.

3.  Because surges can enter through your sprinkler system and cable and phone wires, these need to be protected also.

4.  The only absolute protection during a storm is to shut down and unplug...

5.  The generator provides no protection but does give you alternate power if an ice storm or some other storm takes the grid in your neighborhood down for a few days.

In my case, I have whole house surge protection and surge protection on my electronics and appliances....I did not opt for lightning rods.  If I am away for days....or if the storm is severe and I am home, I unplug.

Hope this helps
I concur with snapsc.
There will be no 100% effective surge protection, but I would, at least, get a sacrificial whole house surge protector. They aren't very expensive, but should provide a good layer of protection.
I use a whole house protector wired into the mains box after a lightening strick took out an amp......a couple of years issues since.
I have a whole house surge and an extra grounding rod.  The whole house surge will help to stop a huge hit.  However, the power it takes to trip the surge is huge.  A hit will still get partially through.  Even with the whole house unit you will still need a decent surge at your unit.  My whole house saved some big stuff but still allowed enough through to fry my PS Audio Quintet.  The loss of a $500 unit saved about $20k.
While I respect the answers posted above it would be nice to hear from some of our members with a direct link to the profession, I won't mention names but those that have been here on Audiogon for a while know several members that I'm referring to.
Let me add one more the event that you do decide to go with lightning rods in addition to whole house surge protection...this is the advice offered in the community I live in...

"The Design and Installation of a Lightning Protection System is a "Specialized Trade". These complex systems should only be installed by Qualified Installers. Roofers, general contractors, electrical contractors are not Qualified Installers of Lightning Protection Systems. Do not accept a Lightning Protection system from anyone other than a U.L. Listed, N.F.P.A. Member and L.P.I. Certified, Lightning Protection Contractor ".
 I have an electrican installed whole house surge protector at the panel and it does exactly what other responders have stated. Also, the comments given about the lightning rod and also still having protection at the equipment and house appliances are also correct , I discussed these with my electrician, it is pretty straightforward.
To the ops question about a generator I have one so I can answer this , if you have one that it tied into the gas meter/line of the house , versus a portable gasoline powered one,  it will kick in automatically 10 seconds or so after the power goes out regardless of the power company cause, and shuts itself off about 2 mins after the power comes back on , the shutoff timing delay is the generator making sure that the direct power hasn't dropped back off. The size of the generator varies based upon how much of the "house" you want back on e.g. just lights and key appliances; those plus say central air and furnaces ; etc. I have everything covered by mine but the clothes dryer, oven and dishwasher which I can live without in a pinch. Best money I've spent given the number of times and length power goes out in my area
1.  Is whole house surge protection at the panel effective and worthwhile?

Yes. Some of it can be very cheap. Panel makers have a variety of units that fit in like breakers. Utility companies also offer protection at the meter. They usually recommend an additional surge protector near anything sensitive though, as the EM pulse from lightning may induce a surge directly into house wiring.

2.  Apparently cable and phone line protection is separate and must be added to the panel protection.  I assume this is appropriate to add if going for whole house protection?

Yep, but it depends on whether you can afford this. Having a surge protector bonded to ground at the service panel is the best way to go for any outside copper, including roof mounted antennas (TV, Satellite), etc. It is the gold standard. However, there are also great units from Furman which include all of this in one.

So my usual advice is, get protection at the service entrance, and a Furman at your sensitive electronic devices.

3.  The realtor ask about adding a generator.  I assume that is a separate issue to provide temporary power during an outage but does not offer line surge protection, correct? 

Right, it won't protect you from a surge, but it will keep your refrigerator working. :)
To clarify, running all the outside wiring (TV, cable, satellite, etc) to the same panel for a bulkhead-like grounding and surge protection solution is what gets expensive, and inconvenient, but if you are building new, in a lightning prone area you should. :)
very good advice from all. a direct hit on your house cannot be protected by anything other than lightning rods IMO. I have a breaker box mounted surge protector and where I live the utilities are underground. We have spectacular lightning storms here in Northern Arizona and I've seen bolts hit the ground and hold for over 1 second, just incredible.
Thanks to all who responded.  It is new construction, but also a condo so no exterior antennas or lightening rods.  There are trees nearby taller than the house but I realize that is not a guarantee the house might not be struck.

I did order the whole house panel protection including phone and cable. Further consideration to add a generator will be made after I experience living there awhile.
talk to the electrician and ask him/her how often you should check that panel surge suppressor to make sure it's still good - mine has a green light that is lit if it is - telling you this because if you get a significant lightning strike that makes its way to you it can end the life of the suppressor and need to be replaced. I had to do this once, but the suppressor did its job and took the impact 
@facten - I was wondering about this. I had a whole house supressor installed when I upgraded to 200 amp service in 2005. It is a Square D box that precedes the panel. The indicator light is still green. Yet, I know that MOVs wear down over time because of exposure to multiple smaller spikes. How long should this thing last before it should be replaced, even if the green lamp remains lit?

To be honest the electrician did not indicate that I should be concerned with replacement other than if the green light was out. That said its probably best that we both check back as your point is correct that the MOV can wear down