ISO Ratings

Guide to ISO Ratings for Homeowners

Homeowners’ Fire Insurance rates are based on each insurance providers exposure to risk. Many insurance providers use the ISO “Public Protection Class” ratings to determine which communities have superior firefighting capability. Fire insurance rates are much lower where a community has reduced the risk of high loss fires.

Residents located in the Central Fire District of Santa Cruz County, including the communities of Aptos, Capitola, La Selva, Live Oak, Rio del Mar and Soquel, may determine their Public Protection Class by evaluating the distance from their home to a nearest Fire Station and the distance to the nearest Fire Hydrant.

Your home is in Class 2 where a Fire Station is within 5-miles travel and a Fire Hydrant is located within 1,000 feet. This distance is measured along roadways providing fire apparatus access.

Your home is in Class 4 where a Fire Station is within 5-miles travel and an alternate water supply must be provided by your Fire Department. An alternate water supply is defined where Fire Hydrants are more than 1,000 feet or your water tank has less than 30,000 gallons capacity; this is typical in our rural areas with well water.

Your home is in Class 10 where a Fire Station is more than 5-miles travel to your house.

ISO is the Insurance Services Office, an advisory organization used by many insurance providers to help evaluate residential and commercial property fire hazard risks. Many insurance providers use the ISO – Public Protection Class ratings to evaluate a community’s ability to prevent and suppress residential and commercial structure fires. 

A highly effective firefighting and risk reduction capability in your community is recognized by insurance providers - to reduce fire insurance risk exposure and this reduced risk may see lower insurance premiums. An ISO “Public Protection Class” rating of Class 1 is the best and a Class 10 is considered “unprotected.” Insurance providers may reduce the costs of homeowner fire insurance in communities rated as Class 1, 2 and 3 where homeowners located in Class 9 or Class 10 may find difficulty in finding reasonable rates for their fire insurance.

Additional Information About ISO Ratings and Wildfire Insurance Risk Evolution:

ISO – Public Protections Classification Frequently Asked Questions

ISO Class Rating System in more Detail

How insurers can prepare for wildland fires

The difference between FireLine® and PPC®