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Friday, February 26, 2021

Newly finished Fire Station construction could reduce homeowner’s insurance

Homeowners within 5 miles of Fire Station 25 should contact their insurance companies for reduced rates

A fire engine sits under a newly constructed shed at the Alachua County Fire Rescue Station 25 on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. The station didn’t have an enclosed space for the engine and was not recognized as a fire station when it opened last January, despite being on call and operating as one.
A fire engine sits under a newly constructed shed at the Alachua County Fire Rescue Station 25 on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. The station didn’t have an enclosed space for the engine and was not recognized as a fire station when it opened last January, despite being on call and operating as one.

Homeowners within 5 miles of Fire Station 25 can receive lower insurance rates and an advanced life support response following renovations at the station.  

Alachua County Fire Rescue recently finished construction on the garage housing the fire engine at the station located at 12825 NW US Highway 441.  

Fire Rescue Marshal John Adler said this construction lowered the Insurance Services Office - Public Protection Classification (ISO-PPC) score from a 10 to a three, which will lower insurance rates. This score is calculated by ISO, which is a company that goes around the country surveying fire departments and communities and determines an ISO-PPC score from one to 10. 

Based on factors such as water supply, manpower and equipment on the fire station’s property, the lower the rating, the lower the insurance rates, he added.

The station didn’t have an enclosed space for the engine and was not recognized as a fire station by ISO when it opened last January, despite being on call and operating as one. Adler said based on ISO’s criteria they were merely a place that housed equipment. 

Homeowners within 5 miles of the station can now benefit from insurance rate reductions of up to 40%, according to a press release sent out by the county communications office. Within 5 miles of the station are commercial buildings and neighborhoods such as the golfing community Turkey Creek, Phoenix Commerce Park and Progress Corporate Park. 

Homeowners should contact their insurance companies to inform them that the ISO rating dropped on their property, Adler said some insurance companies received the updated ISO report directly and can adjust the rates. However, some have not because not all insurance companies use the ISO-PPC criteria, so homeowners should request a letter from the county fire rescue confirming the rating. 

During the last week of January, Adler had been busy with about 75 letter requests, as homeowners were anxious to benefit from the reduced rates.

“Any type of savings right now is a benefit,” he said. “With COVID, we’ve worked hard to get this station done because we know that any bit of savings we can provide on our side will help them.”

When people are looking to buy a home, homeowners insurance usually gets paid along with monthly mortgage payments, said Katie Heysel, an Alachua County realtor. Lower homeowners insurance rates will mean lower mortgage payments. 

The market is already competitive due to low mortgage rates, Heysel said, but this added benefit to homeowners insurance makes the Turkey Creek area even more appealing to prospective buyers.

Turkey Creek’s value recently went up after the opening of the golf course, with median listing prices at $229,900.

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“For the people who already live there, that’s great because the value of their homes has gone up and now their insurance is going down,” Heysel said. 

The fire rescue team created fliers and went door to door to spread information about the lowered rates to the many homeowners in the area.

Contact Lucille Lannigan at llannigan@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucilleLannigan.

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Lucille Lannigan

Lucy Lannigan is a second-year journalism student from Key West. She works as a news assistant on the metro team. When Lucy’s not reporting, she loves to paint and spend time outside. 


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