The public protection class (PPC) cited on a homeowners insurance policy is a measure of how fire-safe an insurer believes the policy holder's community to be. The company takes into account an independent rating when determining a town’s fire protection class, and the outcome can potentially affect the premium.
Every community in the United States is given a grading for its fire-fighting ability. This is assessed by an organization called the Insurance Services Office, an advisory body based in New York. The ISO gives a rating class of between one and 10, where one is excellent fire protection, and 10 is no protection whatsoever.
The biggest factor in assessing a city’s PPC grade is the number of its fire stations and how well equipped they are. Also very important is the number of hydrants and how close they are to homes in the town. For the last part of its rating, the ISO looks at the communications network of a city’s fire service, and the community’s telephone system, to determine how quickly a fire call will be received.
Insurers like to know that your home is within five road miles of a fire station, and that it has a fire hydrant no more than 1,000 feet away.
Most insurers look at protection classes quite broadly when determining the effect on a policy. Communities in classes one through four might be regarded as roughly equal. However, if your protection class is upgraded, it can be worth contacting your insurer to ask for a premium reduction. Your insurer will not let you know when this has happened, and the only way to find out is to contact your local fire department or town hall.
Insurers will take greater account of fire protection classes in some states or regions. In the Northeast, where many homes are primarily wood construction, protection classes are relatively more important. In Florida, where the greater risk might be from hurricanes and other weather events, fire protection class will be given less weight.