Protection Categories and Texas Homeowner Insurance

There are 10 classes or categories of protection (PC) according to the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO). Some insurance companies’ risk avoidance prompts them to stay away from writing protection classes of homeowners insurance 8-10. It’s important for homeowners to know their protection category prior to searching for new or more competitive home insurance rates.

These classes are used to rank a city or town’s fire protection services considering three important factors:

1. Quality of Fire Department. The town’s fire department, equipment (including fire trucks, hoses, and ladders), fire fighter training, and distribution of firefighting company distribution in the area represents approximately half of the criteria for the town’s classification.

2. Water Supply. The town’s water system, including its condition, inspection, resident distribution, and maintenance process (including fire hydrants and assessments of how much water is needed to put out a fire) is approximately 40 percent of the classification.

3. Fire Alarms and Communications Systems. Dispatch system quality, telephone systems (including lines and staff available to support them) represent 10 percent of the protection classification.

PC Ratings Importance

The Protection Classification rating system ranges from best (1) to worst (10). The community’s overall ability to protect residents from fire is reflected by this rank:

• Classes 9 or 10 are considered unprotected because inadequate water hydrants or firefighters are present in these communities. A class 8 homeowner may not have hydrants that are considered close enough but if a fire occurs in a class 9 or 10 area, it may take too long for the closest fire department to respond.

Almost every home insurance company uses the ISO protection classification system when underwriting home insurance policies. Insurers are likely to use proprietary processes when calculating their insureds’ policy rates.

Rising Homeowner Insurance Rates

High homeowner insurance premiums are frustrating. Some companies raise premium rates each year even when the homeowner has not previously filed a claim. However, it’s important to understand why insurance companies raise premiums.

Insurance is one of those financial services every homeowner must have. Even though the homeowner might never use it, homeowners insurance protects against a host of potential financial catastrophes.

Let’s say a homeowner pays $1,200 every year for homeowners insurance in Texas. The monthly mortgage is about $1,000. Paying the homeowner insurance premium is like making an additional mortgage payment every year, and that cost can pinch many families.

However, a fire can happen. A tornado can demolish the house. Roofs are damaged after a hail storm. The homeowner faces much higher costs to replace the home and its contents or replace an expensive roof.

Cheap Homeowners Insurance in Texas

Many home insurers don’t like to insure higher protection classes such as PC for homeowners insurance 8-10. Larger cities with many fire departments tend to be PC2.

Some insurance companies won’t underwrite PC classes 8-10. If they decide to write a lower PC policy, they might not insure for replacement cost.

However, cash value policies (ACV policies) can cost less than replacement cost coverage. Lower PC rates can sometimes actually help insureds pay less in homeowner insurance premiums.


Homeowner insurance companies in Texas consider potentially harmful elements on their insureds’ property, including PC rank, dogs, ponds/pools/rivers, or recreational equipment like trampolines. The insurer typically charges higher premiums when these conditions exist to offset their potential risk.