New Oklahoma City fire rating means thousands could save on insurance

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Thousands of Oklahoma City homeowners could soon see a drop in their insurance costs.

It’s all due to a new fire protection rating for the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

The Insurance Services Office’s Public Classification program analyzes the quality of fire protection in communities around the country.

They rate the fire departments about every five years on a scale of one to 10, one being the best.

“We’ve been a three historically for well over 30 years, as far back as I can remember,” said Oklahoma City fire chief Keith Bryant.

That three just got a major bump up – to a one.

“It tells the people that their investment in our department and in public safety here is paying off for them,” Bryant said.

It could be paying off in the form of lower insurance premiums, because many insurance companies use the classifications to help calculate premiums.

“There is some savings there for sure with some of the companies,” said local independent insurance agent Michael Boyd.

Boyd is with Thrive Insurance.

He ran some quotes for us Monday morning and found the average homeowner in Oklahoma City could save anywhere from $200 to $400 a year with the new fire rating.

“The better protection class is definitely not going to hurt your insurance policy. So, for your renters, homeowners insurance, condo insurance can definitely have a very positive effect,” Boyd said.

Bryant said the top rating was a combination of improvements in communications, improvements to the department itself like adding firefighters and relocating stations for better coverage, as well as improvements to the city’s water system.

“Doesn’t mean we’re going to prevent every fire by no means. But, when there is a fire, we can get there quickly and we can minimize the damage to that property,” Bryant said.

It’s a little bit of good news for Oklahomans who already pay some of the top premiums for home and auto insurance.

“Little possible relief going into storm season, you know, not a bad thing!” Boyd said.

That new rating goes into effect June 1.

It only applies to properties within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.

The classification for properties more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant went up as well, though, from five to four.

“This is fantastic news for Oklahoma City residents,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “Not only does it give them peace of mind knowing they are protected by one of the best fire departments in the country, but many of them will also see a drop in their property insurance. This is a tremendous accomplishment by the Oklahoma City Fire Department. It shows their serious commitment to community safety. We were happy to play a small role in their success.”

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