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Posted: 2:33 p.m. Thursday, June 28, 2012
By Allison Latos
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. —
Starting July 1, hundreds of homeowners in Rowan County will see their insurance rates skyrocket. Lynne Richardson lives on Lakeview Road in Salisbury, and it's now costing her hundreds more in insurance premiums to live there. "My insurance went up over $480. I thought I was going to have a heart attack or something," Richardson said. Richardson is one of more than 350 Rowan County residents whose houses aren't as close to fire stations as they first thought. Assistant Fire Marshal Deborah Horne said with new technology like GPS, the company that provides fire protection ratings issued new scores that take effect July 1. "The areas had been looked over and had been shown to be outside the 5-mile fire district," Horne said. "When we noticed we might have a problem, we searched the entire county road by road." Horne said they found nine tax districts that jumped to the worst rating of a 10. That means insurance companies see neighborhoods like Richardson's as having no fire protection. County officials sent petitions to the areas asking residents, who pay taxes to volunteer departments, to agree that a different and closer fire department would respond. The majority of Richardson's neighbors would not sign on. If her neighborhood would have signed the petition, volunteers at the Franklin department would have responded instead of Locke. County leaders said that would have dropped their rating to a 5 and saved them money. "I just wish they would have at least called when they got the papers, especially if they didn't understand it," Richardson said. Those residents must pay the higher rates until the next year, when they can sign petitions again.
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