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Insurance Services Office Fire Protection Rating

The Insurance Services Office (ISO), a leading source of information about risk, assigns Baltimore County and other jurisdictions a fire protection rating. The ISO supplies date to a variety of users, including the insurance, finance, real estate, human resources and health services industries.

Insurance companies – not ISO – set premiums for policyholders, but most insurance companies rely on ISO’s classification system to rate risk.

The Rating System

The ISO uses a 1 to 10 rating system, with 1 the highest rating. The fire protection rating is based on a number of factors, including number and location of hydrants, number and location of fire stations and access to water sources in rural areas beyond the metropolitan water system.

Baltimore County's urban, developed areas -- most of which lie within the metropolitan water system -- are rated a 3. The rural areas -- most of which lie beyond the metropolitan water system -- are rated a 6.

In 2006, the ISO significantly upgraded the rating in the rural areas from a 9 to a 6, a reflection of a longstanding, successful effort by career and volunteer fire companies to develop a rural water resource strategy involving identification of rural water sources and installation of dry hydrants and underground tanks.

Contact your homeowner's insurance company to see how the ISO rating affects your insurance rates.

Revised January 19, 2011

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