Homeowners Insurance Services
Your Homeowners Insurance premium [excluding Wind & Hail] is determined by the “Insurance Services Office” which establishes a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule that is established through an onsite inspection.
The inspectors observe, classify and assigned numerical values from 1 to 10. A rating of 10 equals NO FIRE PROTECTION while 1 is almost perfect. This rating is then used by the NC State Department of Insurance to set the Homeowners Insurance rates. Overall the “Fire Suppression Rating Schedule” allocates:
• 10% to HANDLING & RECEIVING FIRE ALARMS measuring such things as the County dispatch system and individual pagers;
• 40% to WATER SUPPLY dealing with the availability of water pressure and volume required to suppress a fire; and
• 50% to FIRE DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT & OPERATIONS reviewing specific required tools and appliances, training, staffing, response times, and maintenance of vehicles, hoses, and hydrants. Before the St. James Fire Department was chartered in December 1999, fire protection was provided by the Southport Fire Department. However, the Plantation was deemed to be uncovered with an ISO rating of 10. Upon the start of SJFD’s operations the ISO rating was 9. By 2001, and until last year SJFD’s ISO rating was 5.
After this year’s inspection, the rating was increased to 3. The “Rural’ segment of the Fire District which is more than 5 miles from the station is rated 9e. So, what does all this mean to the residents of St. James?
• First, when the 5 rating was achieved, your Homeowners Insurance premium was reduced by 40-50%.
• Second, the rating for Water Supply and Fire Alarms is mostly a responsibility of the County
• Third, Equipment & Operations is within the control and influence of SJFD. The hours of training, certifications, and emergency response rate of the Firefighters helps improve or maintain the ISO rating SJFD receives during the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule process.
• Fourth, SJFD as an all-volunteer force requires the support of all Fire District residents so resources, staffing, and funding do not deteriorate. Any deterioration of the support of SJFD can impact the ISO rating now held. And that has a direct impact on the insurance rates of the residents.
• Fifth, today, for example, according to one carrier, a $400,000 frame house built in 2000-2001, with a $2500 all peril deduction and 2% hurricane deduction, would have these annual premiums: ISO Rating 9, Annual Premium $4,562.08 ISO Rating 5, Annual Premium $3,042.00 ISO 9 Savings $1,520.08 per year.
In Summary: As a resident of the Town of St. James you get the better rate as well as the Fire Protection and Emergency Services without any direct effort. So how can you help? By joining the St. James Fire Department in any of a myriad of ways. Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians and Fire Police are always needed. Help is also needed with Ground Cover Sales and Hydrant Testing.
Contact the Fire Station at 910-253-9990 for any further information.