Flood insurance is a fundamental necessity if your property is located in a flood-prone area. As we discussed in previous blogs, a standard homeowner policy does not include damages caused by flooding, so you are required to have one if you live in a high-risk area.
The elevation certificate is an important factor when it relates to flood insurance., It measures your property elevation above the local base elevation and can have a dramatic impact on your insurance premium.
Here’s all you need to know about a flood elevation certificate and how it helps lower your flood insurance rates.
What Is An Elevation Certificate?
An elevation certificate is a document drafted by a qualified and authorized engineer, architect or surveyor that measures the difference in elevation between your home and the base flood elevation of your area. It also gathers information on:
- The elevation of a building concerning mean high tide;
- The type of structure;
- The location on the flood map;
- Any other additional information used to determine the proper flood insurance premium rates for a property.
How Can You Get an Elevation Certificate?
The first thing you need to do is to ask your local government if there is elevation data or an existing elevation certificate on file for your property. If there is, you can use that one and avoid paying for a new one. If you’re purchasing a property, the elevation certificate could be included among the property documents.
However, if there is not an existing certificate, you will need one. Ask in your local area for a state licensed engineer, surveyor or architect to draft your elevation certificate.
Depending on the size and complexity of your property, its cost can vary from $500 to $2,000.
Processes may vary but generally, the licensed professional will:
- Find a certified elevation marker near your home;
- Measure the elevation of other properties adjacent to your property;
- Measure your floor heights and note where mechanical systems are located;
- Use all gathered data is used to calculate a proper premium for your property.
Why Should You Get an Elevation Certificate?
Having an elevation certificate gives you an idea of the steps you can take to lower your flood insurance costs. There is a direct equivalence between how high your property is and the price of your policy. The higher your home is above the base flood elevation, the lower your rate will be. If your property is just above or below the base flood elevation, your home will cost more to insure.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, if you modify your property, so it is at least 3 feet above base flood elevation, you can save approximately $90,000 over a 10-year period for a single-family, no-basement home.
Moreover, your annual rate increases will be less significant if you present an elevation certificate. Homes without an elevation certificate will see their rates raised based on the worst possible scenarios. But if an elevation certificate is provided, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will take your elevation details into account when raising prices, often resulting in a lower premium.
Finally, an elevation certificate shows precisely where your property falls on the elevation ladder, so you can determine what steps to take to help mitigate flood damage. Modifying your property to raise it higher than the base flood elevation can result in a significant decrease in flood insurance costs.
If you already have an elevation certificate, get a free flood zone audit. We might be able to help you lower your flood insurance premium.