If you happen to own one of the 376 households in Tom Bean, you just saved money on your homeowners insurance — and it didn’t even take you 15 minutes. In fact, insurance rates could drop by nearly 30 percent after the town’s Public Protection Classification rating was upgraded Tuesday by a national organization. The change reflects the insurance industry’s faith in the town’s volunteer fire department to respond to emergencies.

If you happen to own one of the 376 households in Tom Bean, you just saved money on your homeowners insurance — and it didn’t even take you 15 minutes. In fact, insurance rates could drop by nearly 30 percent after the town’s Public Protection Classification rating was upgraded Tuesday by a national organization. The change reflects the insurance industry’s faith in the town’s volunteer fire department to respond to emergencies.


"Our ability to improve our PPC classification was positively influenced by our increase in training activities, handling and receiving fire alarms, staffing and additional equipment," said TBVFD Chief James Dixon in a prepared statement.


The City’s classification was upgraded from Class 8 to Class 5, with Class 1 representing perfect protection and Class 10 signifying that a town’s suppression capabilities do not meet minimum criteria. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, a three-step improvement could mean decreased rates anywhere from 5- to 27-percent. Mayor Sherry Howard said the town expects rate drops to fall in the middle of that range.


"The City increased the volume of the water supply, which also added to the improvement for the evaluation, and with this improved rating, it is expected that qualifying homeowners could see around 12- to 13-percent reductions in their insurance premiums starting in March 2014," said Howard.


The Public Protection Classification is gleaned from a variety of data and applies to homes within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.


According to the Texas Department of Insurance, "(The classification) consists of 50 points for fire department capabilities, 40 points for water supply and distribution, 10 points for receiving and handling fire alarms and 6.5 points for a ‘Texas Addendum’ that grades fire safety education, building code enforcement, fire prevention code enforcement and fire investigation capabilities."