The matching funds program helps buy fire apparatus for the state’s 800 volunteer fire departments
By Roslyn Anderson, WLBT
The cost of fire insurance is expected to rise for rural homeowners according to the state insurance commissioner if a program for volunteer fire departments continues to be neglected.
Volunteer fire departments are hoping the legislature will commit the dollars needed to prevent a hike in premiums and more importantly the potential loss of lives.
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney worries that rural fire deaths will increase if the Rural Fire Truck Program goes unfunded.
“If the legislature doesn’t fund these programs then you’re going to have more fire deaths,” said Chaney.
It is a state matching fund program for the purchase of fire trucks and equipment for volunteer fire departments.
“The Rural Fire Truck Program keeps your insurance rates from doubling and we’re probably going to see some rather large increases on insurance rates beginning in 2021 because of the lack of funding for the rural fire truck program,” said the insurance commissioner.
“It would hurt us in our county and probably most of the 82 counties in the state, ” said Utica Volunteer Fire Department Chief Sammy White.
The Insurance Commissioner estimates less than 10 fire districts will see a 35 to 45 percent increase in homeowner insurance premiums.
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