Brett Stomps | Windermere

5 Factors Impacting Home Insurance in the Columbia Gorge

5 primary factors that influence the annual cost of homeowners’ insurance in the Columbia Gorge and what you can do to maybe lower it.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

There are a variety of factors that will impact your home insurance premium in the Columbia Gorge. Some are obvious, such as the amount of property that needs to be covered, but others are a bit more obscure. Let’s get into the 5 factors now.

Coverage Limits

The amount of property coverage is the first factor in determining the premium. The property coverage included in a homeowners’ policy is typically based on the cost to replace the structure in the event of a total loss (not market value, or appraised value). A home that costs $600k to rebuild is simply going to have a higher insurance premium than a home that costs $250k to rebuild.

Age of Home & Home Systems

Assuming comparable coverage limits, an older home will have a higher premium than a newer home. Similarly, a home with a roof nearing the end of it’s useful life will have a higher premium than a home with a brand new roof.

The same is also true with:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC systems
  • & More

If you own a home and have made updates to any of these systems, you should let me know – as I might be able to improve your premium!

Fire Protection Class & Fireline Score

Fire risk and protection in the Columbia Gorge has always been a concern for many buying in the area – especially to those further east. Therefore, home insurance in the Columbia Gorge is not only extremely important to have to protect your asset, but also to evaluate accurately.

Related: Steps to Buying a Home in The Columbia Gorge

There are two metrics pertaining to fire risk when determining premiums. Those are, Fire Protection Class and Fireline Score.

Fire Protection Class

This is a rating ranging between 1-10 based on the fire suppression capabilities of the county. A home next to the city’s fire station will have a lower Fire Protection Class Score if compared to a similar home located in a rural area that has only a volunteer fire department. A lower score means a lower premium – in fact, if the score is high enough, carriers might not want to provide coverage at all.

Fireline Score

A Fireline Score is based on how prone the property is to a wildfire – primarily determined by the presence of fuel/trees, slope, and access in the immediate area. Recent adjustments to the Fireline Scoring maps in the Pacific Northwest have impacted the number of carriers willing to insure homes, and has increased the cost of insurance.

Eagle Creek Fire in Columbia River Gorge, September 2017

CLUE Score and Credit Profile

This factor isn’t related to those living in the Columbia Gorge. Instead, it is a factor that insurance carriers created to help evaluate the behaviors and patterns of insured customers. One is called a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) score, and the other is the insured’s credit profile.

Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE)

A CLUE score is a database of past claims that insurance carriers can access. Any past home, auto, or motor vehicle history events would show up on a CLUE score. Claims on a CLUE score result in higher premiums paid for new coverage, as the insured has evidenced a history of losses.

Consulting with your agent about whether or not to file a claim is always recommended, to ensure the CLUE score is not impacted by frivolous claims.

Credit Profiles

Credit profiles are also utilized by insurance carriers through a soft credit pull. An insured with a lower credit score, or shaky credit history is considered by carriers to be an insured that more prone to risk.

Monitoring credit and understanding your credit profile will help to ensure you are in the best situation possible when you go to buy or adjust your home insurance policy.

Bundling Policies

Bundling your policies with one carrier often has a significant advantage when it comes to the total premiums paid. Many carriers provide a 10-25% discount if both home and auto are both placed with them, versus one policy or the other. There are also incentives to bundle additional policies such as an Umbrella, watercraft, or recreational vehicle. If your policies are currently split up between carriers, it might be worth having each carrier take a look at quoting them as a bundle.

Take a look at all of the Personal Insurance polices we provide at Columbia River Insurance. I’d be happy to give you a quote on a bundled plan.


The information provided on is intended to be educational and accurate. However, information on does not substitute as buyer and seller due diligence when transacting real estate. Buyers and sellers are advised to work directly with a licensed real estate professional, seek additional professional services when applicable, and to inquire at the state, county, and city offices for their due diligence.