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Higher Insurance Rates Confuse Homeowner, Fire Commissioner

The Dow has been up and down for a week now as concern grows across the country. Here at home, some people are getting hit with skyrocketing premiums on their home insurance.

AllState Insurance said it?s because of changes to the area’s fire rating, while others call that an excuse to make more money.

Ray Bozzo stood in front of the Bonneville County home which he and his wife poured their savings, and as of Tuesday, the insurance premium on that home has shot up 46 percent.

?I about fell off my chair,? Bozzo said.

Bozzo immediately got on the phone to find out why, and Thursday reporter Marissa Bodnar did the same thing.

A local AllState agent told Bodnar a change in the fire district rating has more than doubled premiums for a lot of insurers.

Ratings from 2 to 9, the lower the better, are determined by organizations like the Idaho Surveying and Rating Bureau based on factors like water supply, but mainly the distance you live from a fire station.

?The further out, obviously the more you?re going to pay for fire protection,? Bonneville County Fire Commissioner Daniel Gubler said.

But, Gubler said the county’s rating hasn’t changed.

?Obviously it?s insurance companies trying to raise rates on their own,? he said.

But the Rating Bureau’s general manager told Bodnar the increases aren’t insulated to Bonneville County. He said it’s happening at companies across the board and across the state who may be making internal changes or interpreting the ratings differently.

?Basically it sounds like AllState made a mistake,? Bozzo said. ?They should’ve been charging us under 9 code rather than 4 all these years and all a sudden realized; either that or (they?re) trying to make themselves some extra money.?

Gubler said the fire district is actually trying to help residents save money with equipment upgrades and plans to build three new stations.

?At some point when we occupy those, they will help the patrons out in the county with those costs,? he said.

A corporate representative from AllState said the company is leveraging new technology to ensure even more accuracy in protecting homes.

It’s unclear if that’s a reason for the dramatic increase in this particular case.

Fire commissioners said they’ve broken ground on one of those new stations on Ammon Road.

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