Aug. 09--People who live in portions of Wilson County could soon see lower homeowner insurance rates.
This week, Wilson County commissioners voted to request that insurance districts are extended from five miles to six miles.
That means any home within six miles of the fire station that serves them should see a discount in homeowners insurance at some point.
"Now that's not going to happen overnight," said Gordon Deno, director of Wilson County Emergency Management. "The next step is to get those approved maps to the state so that they can get their seal of approval on it. And then that information has got to get to the insurance companies. It could take 90 days at least for the insurance companies to know. And even then it won't change until people's policies come up."
But Deno indicated a homeowner, after the state has approved, could choose to go to their insurance company.
But even with the extra mile extension, there are some residents who won't get a break in their homeowner's insurance because they don't meet that six-mile requirement.
Commissioner Rob Boyette noted in one particular case it's not the residents' fault they live outside the six miles because a bridge was removed, causing them to be at a disadvantage. He asked if there was anything that could be done for them.
"Bailey Road used to cross the reservoir, but when they expanded the reservoir they took out that bridge," Deno explained. "There is no bridge there any more. And what that did essentially was take them out of the six-mile insurance district."
Deno said although he has received phone calls complaining about it and wishes he could do something, the situation isn't anything he has control over.
County commissioners said they will write a letter petitioning the insurance commissioner to ask for special permission for those residents.
"I don't know if that will fly or not because they have a certain set of rules they go by," Deno said. "People get angry with us. They say how come we buy chicken plates and we support this fire department, and the insurance company says I'm not in the fire district?"
Deno said insurance district and response district are two different things.
"Even though commissioners have approved the maps, we have no control," Deno said. "The state says you can go six miles, and here are the boundaries. Their representative sat down with our mapping department and they went through everything to make sure that it was exactly six miles."
Deno said the other thing that could help those residents is to have another substation.
East Nash fire station has two stations that cover their fire district, Deno showed on the map.
"That means they have a bigger fire district, pretty much, over anybody else," Deno explains. "They can do additional mileage from one firehouse that they can't from the other firehouse."
Deno said if Rock Ridge Volunteer Fire Department was able to put a substation with a fire truck somewhere near N.C. 42 and 581, it would mean a larger fire district for them.
"But I don't have control over that either," Deno said. "And I hate to even say that because they might get mad at me for saying that."
Deno said the county does not own the fire trucks, but contracts with the private incorporated fire departments to provide fire protection out in the county.
"They have a board of directors," Deno said. "We collect the tax money for them. Their budgets come from that fire tax."
Deno said on the tax bill residents will see Wilson County tax, and they can also see what fire district covers the area the resident pays taxes in.
Deno said the volunteer fire departments are well trained and their response time is good.
He said he doesn't know what impact the letter from the commissioners will have, but he hopes soon there will be some way for all homeowners to get discounts on their insurance.
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