CHAMPAIGN — Fire insurance rates for homeowners in the city will stay as low as possible after the Champaign Fire Department maintained its rating during its most recent Insurance Services Office examination.
The fire department scored a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best possible grade.
Fire Chief Doug Forsman said that as far as fire insurance is concerned, a Class 2 rating will give homeowners the lowest rates.
A Class 1 rating would improve rates only for commercial property owners.
The Insurance Services Office reviews are infrequent — they occur on average only every 10 to 12 years, and Champaign's last review was in 1998, Forsman said.
"They look at literally everything," Forsman said. "They look at literally every piece of equipment we have, they look at our training records, our vehicle maintenance records, they look at our response times."
Champaign scored high — the Class 2 rating puts the local department in the top 2 percent of fire defense in communities across the country.
But to nudge itself up to the Class 1 rating, Forsman said, "it would probably take quite a few more personnel salaries."
"We looked at that back a number of years ago," Forsman said. "The cost-benefit is just not there."
Urbana Fire Chief Mike Dilley said on Monday that the Insurance Services Office recently completed an evaluation of his department, too, but he does not expect to receive the scores until late fall.
Urbana currently has a Class 2 rating, according to county documents.