Whether we like it or not, paying for insurance is a fact of life. Homeowner and business insurance companies use many factors when determining the cost of your premiums. One major factor is the level of fire protection. Most insurance carriers use what is known as ISO to determine the quality of fire protection available and therefore establish insurance rates.
ISO stands for Insurance Service Organization. This is a group of trained, professional evaluators that assess almost every fire department in the U.S. ISO uses a consistent set of guidelines to evaluate a fire department. ISO bases a fire department’s rating on many factors including the number of personnel on duty, training level of personnel (paid or volunteer), the amount of water the fire department can get to a fire, and the amount and quality of equipment used (such as fire engines and hand tools). The purpose of ISO is to give insurance companies a uniform system on which to base their insurance premiums.
For an insurance company knowing the capabilities of a fire department is important. The better the fire department, the better protected a building is from fire damage and loss. The higher the level of protection, the less likely an insurance company will have to reimburse a claim for fire damage. The fewer number of claims, the lower the cost for the insurance provider. Of course fire protection can work the opposite way. A sub-par fire department will experience more fire losses. More fire losses means more insurance claims filed. In order to make costs meet, the insurance companies raise the premiums you pay.
ISO gives a ranking of 1 through 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being no protection at all.
Redings Mill Fire Protection District currently has a Class 4 rating in our hydranted areas and a Class 5 rating in our non-hydranted areas. These ratings are for homes that are within 5 road miles of one of our 5 stations. If the driving distance is further than 5 miles your insurer may rate you as a 10 which is non-protected. Approximately 98% of homes in Redings Mill Fire District are within 5 road miles of a station.
Some of the factors that are included in the rating system include:
* Fire Department must have pumper capacity to suppress a fire in any building in the community
* Fire Department must have a 24 hour central dispatch for contacting all firefighters on duty via pagers and radios
* Must have fully equipped reserve apparatus
* Annual tests must be conducted on pumper trucks, hoses, and hydrants
* A minimum number of firefighters must be active in the department and respond to alarms
* Firefighter training must meet minimum standards
* The department must be able to provide the needed fire flow for homes and businesses either by public water supply or tanker shuttle
ISO ratings are one of the many factors that affect insurance premiums. Age of the structure, construction material, and loss history in a particular area also affect the base rate. Factors such as property value, deductible amount, multiple policies, security systems, and credit ratings affect an individual’s rates.
If you have questions about your current ISO rating, be sure to give us a call at 417-624-2715. We can confirm the rating for your location.