If you look closely at your homeowners insurance policy you will see a summary of your risk. You will see what is covered like the structures on your property and the “limits” of that coverage broken down. Occasionally the summary will contain descriptions of your buildings like is your home “frame” or “masonry” construction. One item that may not make sense is “protection class”. What is that?
What is Protection Class
Protection class is a code or number that the insurance company uses to determine how well your home is protected by your municipal or rural fire department. It is derived by an audit of that fire department by a third party organization like ISO and Verisk. That in addition to your distance from that fire department are the major factors in your PPC Code or protection class code.
Generally you will see a PPC from 1-10. 1, 2 and 3 are likely a code you have if your home is located in a city with a full-time fire department staff who can respond to fire calls immediately. If you have 1-5 protection class your home is likely very close to a fire hydrant and your fire department has been a very responsive organization.
Why might I have a higher Protection Class like 9 or 10?
Some homes are over 5 or 6 miles from a fire department obviously some are way beyond that. If your home is that far from a part-time department and it starts on fire it is highly likely your home will be a total loss by the time the hoses are hooked up. In addition to the response time the fire department will likely have to find a water source that is far away from your home and thus must be transported in a tank truck so they will not be able to work as effectively as they would in a city with fire hydrants. For these reasons your Protection class and your home insurance premium will likely be higher in relation to a home in a large city or even a small town.
If I have a high protection class will every company charge me high premiums?
The answer to this question is complicated. With a certain company you will pay higher premiums than a home with a PC3 (insured at that same company). Some companies do specialize in rural homes and homes farther away from a fire department. Since insurance policies rate with many factors and home more than just fire damage coverage these companies see lower losses on rural and remote homes in areas like liability and theft. This means they can charge you less for those items and give you higher discounts for say, having a connected and central fire alarm installed for instance.
All things considered, if you have a high protection class you should have options. A good independent insurance agent will have markets for many risks including yours. Many direct marketing insurance companies target suburbs and thus will likely rate your home insurance higher since they do not target your risk directly. Find a good insurance agent who takes more into account than your address and you will be fine.