San Diego County Board of Supervisors

Contacts: Steve Schmidt, 619-206-9108,;

Anita Lightfoot, 619-531-4709,

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­NEWS RELEASE



Thousands of rural property owners may see lower insurance bills thanks to San Diego County upgrades in fire protection and preparedness.

A national organization that works with the insurance industry recently issued significantly improved fire protection ratings for much of the local backcountry, citing the county’s aggressive efforts to beef up services.

Insurance companies use the ratings, known as ISO classifications, to help determine premiums.

“This is great news for property owners and their pocketbooks, and is a strong vote of confidence in our long-running efforts to better protect people and property,” said county Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

Since the Cedar Fire and other devastating firestorms in 2003, the county has invested more than $350 million on fire and emergency preparedness, including more ground and aerial assets and better equipment and firefighter training. It created the County Fire Authority in 2008 to oversee these improvements, consolidate services and bolster coordination among agencies.

“The Fire Authority made the top 10 percent for fire and emergency response in the nation and that’s incredible,” said county Supervisor Bill Horn. “I am proud of the progress we’ve seen over the last eight years and know we’re more prepared now than we’ve ever been for wildfires.”

The ratings boost could lead to lower insurance bills on about 8,600 parcels in more than 20 communities. The revised rates were issued by the New Jersey-based Insurance Services Office.

Many properties were upgraded from a 9 or 10 classification, considered among the least protected, to a 3. Those rated a 3 are within five miles of a fire station and at least 1,000 feet of a water source.

County officials plan to notify affected property owners through the mail.

Property owners are encouraged to contact their insurance company after the start of the new year to find out how the new classification may affect their policy.

The new ratings take effect Jan. 1 on many parcels in Ocotillo Wells, Ranchita, Warner Springs, Pine Valley, Descanso, Santa Ysabel, De Luz, Dehesa, Harbison Canyon, Jamul, San Pasqual, Campo, Boulevard, Mt. Laguna, Palomar Mountain, Shelter Valley, Sunshine Summit, Deerhorn Valley, Dulzura, Jacumba, Lake Morena, Potrero and Tecate.