Most of the surge protection built in to things like power strips are relatively ineffective, for example they haven't protected my equipment when a *real* surge (i.e. lightning strike) has occurred. For a laptop I wouldn't worry much about surges, since in most cases if it is plugged in only the AC adapter will be lost (even when the AC adapter is plugged into a surge supressor).
If the surge is strong enough (i.e. lightning strike), could it go beyond destroying the AC adapter and do damage to the battery or would it go past the battery and harm other components?
I am asking because I overheard someone explaining that a laptop should *always* be plugged into a surge protector because any fluctuations in power could "kill" the battery. They even said everyday fluctuations, such as the air conditioner or furnace starting, could do damage even though the adapter is designed to handle the variance.