Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services’ improved Insurance Service Office rating will take effect on Saturday, and some homeowners could see a lowering of insurance rates, the department announced on Thursday.
Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather announced the department’s movement from ISO Public Protection Class 3/3Y to 2/2Y on Tuesday, Sept. 4. ISO ratings are based on reviews that take place for fire departments nationwide every three years. According to CCFES spokesman Tim Cavender, the rating determines how well local fire departments protect the community and its homes, and insurance companies often use that rating to determine risk and rates.
“Insurance companies use the score to help calculate home insurance rates, as a home that is less likely to be severely damaged or destroyed by fire earns lower rates to insure. In general, the ISO has a classification system of Class 1 through Class 10. Class 10 is basically an area where fire suppression capabilities do not meet any kind of minimum requirement of ISO, whereas as the Class 1 is the best rating that can be achieved,” Cavender said in Thursday’s announcement.
He said there are about 46,000 fire departments in the country, and only 242 have earned Class 1 status. Class 2, where Cherokee County now falls, is held by about 1,325 departments, placing Cherokee within the top 4 percent of fire departments nationwide.
According to CCFES officials, property owners that were being provided service by Cherokee County will see the change from Class 3/3Y to Class 2/2Y. And because of the consolidation of fire services with the city of Canton, that city’s residents will see a change from Class 4 to the Class 2/2Y, which could mean larger cost savings.
The CCFES recommends that property owners check with their insurance companies to determine if there will be any significant change with their insurance rates.