With recent flooding causing devastation in multiple areas, it’s important to understand how an elevation certificate works. These documents measure a property’s lowest floor’s elevation relative to the community’s base flood elevation, which can impact rates. Encourage your clients to ask their local floodplain manager if there’s already one on file for the property. If not, they should consider getting one done to save money.
It’s a Legal Document
Choosing one with experienced engineers and land surveyors is important when deciding on an elevation certificate company. These professionals know how to take precise measurements and will be able to provide you with the accurate data you need for your insurance rate. They also understand that your timeline is critical and will be able to work within your schedule. In most cases, if you’re in an area prone to flooding, you’ll need an elevation certificate for your home or business. Your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover flood damage; you’ll likely need a separate policy. An elevation certificate compares your property’s lowest floor to the base flood elevation (BFE) on an official FEMA map and helps determine your insurance rates. The BFE is the flood level where a home has a 1% chance of flooding yearly. An elevation certificate for flood insurance can help homeowners and business owners save money by proving their lowest floor is several feet above this point. It can also support requests for Letters of Map Amendment to remove a building from a Special Flood Hazard Area.
FEMA requires it
This document helps insurance companies properly rate the risk of flood damage. It includes information about the building’s location, lowest floor elevation compared to BFE, and other details such as its characteristics.
The lower a property’s lowest floor elevation is compared to BFE, the less it will pay in premiums. This is important because flooding is a major problem in the US, and many areas are prone to it. FEMA and communities need accurate data to mitigate flood risks and protect their citizens. A certified surveyor or engineer can complete an elevation certificate and provide this vital information to homeowners. The flood risks and hazards around a property can change due to weather patterns, rising or falling water levels, or even the effects of new construction. Because of this, it’s important to update an elevation certificate regularly. This will help protect homeowners and businesses from paying unnecessary fees for flood insurance. This is especially critical for homes and buildings in special flood hazard zones, as they’re required by law to carry NFIP flood insurance.
It’s a Requirement for NFIP Policies
If you’re looking to buy a home in a flood zone, your insurance agent may require that you obtain an elevation certificate for the property. Depending on the location of your home, it may be eligible for lower rates if the lowest floor is higher than the community’s base flood elevation (BFE). As part of the agreement that allows communities to sell NFIP policies, the NFIP requires that those communities adopt floodplain management laws that minimize losses caused by flooding. Those laws require districts to identify the lowest floor elevations of all new and substantially improved buildings and keep a record of that information. The EC is also sometimes used to support a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F). Those letters can remove the Federal mandate that lending institutions require the purchase of flood insurance on properties in a flood zone and may result in lower insurance premiums for the owner. To obtain an EC, the homeowner must hire a state-licensed surveyor or engineer to complete a detailed survey of their property’s lowest floor and adjacent grade.
It’s a Requirement for Mortgages
An elevation certificate is a requirement for mortgages, and it’s also useful for anyone who wants to save money on flood insurance. This is because flood insurance rates are based on a property’s risk, and an elevation certificate shows exactly how high a building is above the community’s base flood elevation (BFE). The BFE is the level at which flooding is expected to occur at least once every 100 years. An elevation certificate compares a home’s lowest point to the BFE and reveals how much risk a property has of flooding. It’s important to note that the certificate does not necessarily waive the requirement for flood insurance. However, it can support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment LOMA or a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill LOMR-F to remove the property from a flood zone. The best way to obtain an elevation certificate is through a professional land surveyor or engineer licensed in your state. You can find one through your local or state land surveyors association. For an extra fee, they can also help you determine the exact location of a building on your property.
It’s a Requirement for Building Permits
Getting flood insurance is required for many homeowners, especially those in high-risk areas. Having an elevation certificate to prove your home is above the community’s base flood elevation (BFE) is a good idea.
An EC can help reduce your NFIP premium rate by showing that your building is at or above the BFE. It can also help you comply with floodplain management building requirements and qualify for Community Rating System discounts. A licensed land surveyor or professional engineer typically prepares elevation certificates. Your state’s professional land surveyors association can help you find one qualified to prepare an EC. If you’re looking for a company to design an EC, ensure they have the experience necessary and can provide a comprehensive portfolio of past work. The company you choose should also be able to answer any questions about the process. They should be willing to discuss your specific needs and offer a free consultation. This way, you can ensure that the EC is accurate and complete.