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ISO ratings mean potential savings or cost for insurance

Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 19, 2022

A score between one and 10 could change what you pay for property insurance.

A company called Insurance Services Office, or ISO, rates fire departments and their surrounding communities. The rating scale creates a standard used across the country and by insurance companies to help set rates.

"The score basically reflects how prepared a community is for fires," said Kristi Redding, an insurance broker with Insurance Professionals of Arizona.

Every property is assigned a number. "If you have a protection, a class three, that means you live in the city on a street with a municipal fire department and you pay less for insurance," said Redding.

Fire departments are ranked by class 1-10 with 1 being the best. According to ISO's 'Fire Suppression Rating Schedule', three main areas are considered:

  • Emergency communications
  • Fire department
  • Water supply

Fire departments are rated on several factors, one being firefighter response. As ABC15 previously reported, the United Phoenix Firefighters Association says a lack of resources and population growth are leading to rising response times.

It's unclear exactly how a rise in response times impacts individual insurance rates because companies decide how they will weigh ISO scores, so the impact varies.