WICHITA, Kansas – Some local homeowners may see their insurance rates go up because of where they live. The increase has to do with how close they are to a fire station.
Wide open spaces and fresh air are some the reasons that many people move out to unincorporated Sedgwick County. Chuck Barton built his house 11 years ago.
“It’s kind of a point of pride to be able to say that,” said Barton.
But making the move could come with unexpected costs. Back in April, Fire Station 34 moved into Haysville, pushing him out of the five-mile radius for an insurance discount.
“As soon as I found out they was building one in there and they was gonna move the one, I knew the insurance rates would go up,” said Barton.
The movement was for practical reasons.
“As the city limits of Wichita expanded, we needed to push some of our fire stations out we also wanted our fire stations within the communities whenever possible,” said Sedgwick County Fire Marshal, Daniel Wagner.
For home owners insurance, if you live within five miles of a fire station, you pay a lower price.
Barton said he currently pays around a $1,000, but officials said that with the station moving just under 2 miles away from its old location, it changed him from a Class 5 location to a Class 10.
“There’s an approximately a 50% savings of insurance, so the person that’s paying $2000 a year as a Class 10 and they become a Class 5 would pay about $1000 a year for home owner’s insurance,” said Wagner.
But relief could be on the way. Officials with the fire department are working to get approval to expand the discount people receive.
That will mean that homeowners, like Barton, who live within a 5-to-7 mile radius will also get a bit of a break.
The fire marshal said that they’ll get approval for those changes hopefully next week.