Lack of nearby fire station sends insurance prices up - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Lack of nearby fire station sends insurance prices up

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Some Odenville residents have decided to sell their homes due to the high cost of insurance caused by a lack of a local fire department. (abc3340.com) Some Odenville residents have decided to sell their homes due to the high cost of insurance caused by a lack of a local fire department. (abc3340.com)
ODENVILLE - AL -

The lack of a nearby fire station is costing some people thousands on their insurance and some neighbors have simply decided to move out but help may be on the way.

The Legacy Springs and Lakewood Preserve neighborhoods were built about five years ago, but when they were annexed into Odenville, the closest fire station turned out to be over  five miles away.  That meant insurance rates skyrocketed and many residents believe it's a matter of life or death.

It's one of the newest neighborhoods in Odenville, but the biggest concern isn't easily seen.

"Sure it's an issue," Tim Foster, a resident said. "It needs to be addressed in a timely manner also. It hurts people in the neighborhood."

Mayor Buck Christian says after the land was annexed, the rating went to the worst level possible. That rating determines the price of homeowners insurance.

Insurance agent Brian Skinner says there's nothing the company can do to change the rates...

"They call us and they're distraught and their insurance has gone from $1200 a year to $2500 a year," Brian Skinner said. "For those people it's a real traumatic event for them and there's no easy fix."

Not only is he an agent, he's also a homeowner in Legacy Springs.

"It's a scary situation - one of the ladies in our neighborhood she fell and had an epileptic seizure in front of her house," Skinner said. "She had two of her children there and I was there and we called central station to try to speed things up and it took them 20 minutes. It was very traumatic on those children."

Some residents found by switching to an insurance company that doesn't use the fire rating, they could avoid the price hike...

"Our insurance didn't go up at all," Foster said. "We are at the same thing we were when we closed on our house four years ago."

What we found were quite a few realty signs. Those new high rates are forcing families out.

"We're quite a few years off from a fix, and that is going to have a dramatic effect on the families up here for quite a few years," Skinner said.

We weren't able to speak with Mayor Christian on camera, but he told us help is on the way. The city is planning to build a fire station across from  Legacy Springs. He says it could be built in about a year but neighbors told us with those high insurance prices - it's simply not soon enough.

 

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