DULARGE — Homeowners in the Bayou Dularge area will pay lower fire-insurance premiums beginning next week thanks to an improved fire-risk rating.
Fire District 10, whose protection area includes Bayou Dularge and Theriot, purchased new equipment to qualify for a 4, one point better than the rating it previously held.
The new rating takes effect next Monday and will mean homeowners will pay about 10 percent less for fire insurance coverage over the next year.
The exact decrease depends on the value of the property, its location and the rate schedule of the company insuring the property, said State Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley.
Overall, though, the change means fire coverage on an $80,000 home will drop by about $39 a year.
“That may not sound like a lot,” Wooley said. “But when you consider how many homes there are in a district, it’s a major impact.”
The Property Insurance Association of Louisiana, a nonprofit group of state-licensed insurance carriers, issues fire ratings after surveying a district’s services.
The surveys are conducted at two-year intervals or when a district requests a review. Bayou Dularge’s May review was scheduled, not requested.
The 10-point scale is based on district characteristics, such as the amount and type of equipment, the availability of water and the type and frequency of firefighter training.
The lower the number, the less local residents are charged for property-insurance coverage.
Bayou Dularge Chief Quint Liner said the department was able to improve its rating by purchasing new equipment, including fire trucks.
Bayou Dularge’s five paid and 167 volunteers serve about 5,000 homes and average 330 calls a year, mostly medical emergencies. The department has four stations, five fire trucks and two rescue trucks.
Liner said fire-rating inspectors were pleased with the department’s available manpower and the quality of its equipment but said Dularge’s water pressure would have to be increased if firefighters hope to lower their rating again next time.
“The underground lines are too small in places,” he said. “We hope to get that worked out.”
Liner also credited firefighters’ hard work over the past year and the district board’s backing with the lower rating. He said everyone involved is excited to hear that the department will soon lower its rating.
“I was excited because it’s my job to lower the fire rating and protect people,” Liner said. “Everyone who lives here was excited because we’re saving them money.”
But, Liner said, there has been some confusion about what homeowners need to do to to realize the promised savings on their insurance bill.
“They don’t have to do anything,” he said. “PIAL will notify insurance carriers directly beginning Aug. 11.”
If a reduction doesn’t appear on Dularge and Theriot residents’ next renewal notices, they should contact their insurance agents at that point.