What is an Elevation Certificate and Why do I need one?

What is an Elevation Certificate and Why do I need one?

What is an Elevation Certificate?

elevation_certificate1An Elevation Certificate is a form the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses to document the elevation of your property's structure in comparison to the elevation of the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).  A BFE is the flood elevation having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This is the regulatory standard also referred to as the "100-year flood." The base flood is the national standard used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and all Federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating new development.

Why do I need an Elevation Certificate?

The elevation difference between the structure and BFE is used for many risk, mitigation, construction, and insurance issues such as:

  • Determining flood insurance policy rates.  Without an Elevation Certificate, your home may not be rated properly and you could be paying unnecessarily high rates. 
  • Rebuilding the structure after a disaster to the proper elevation to protect it in the future.
  • Remodeling a property or raising it to help mitigation future losses from flood disasters.
  • Supporting a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA).  An Elevation Certificate is one of the documents included with an MT-1 (LOMA) application to FEMA which can remove you from the mandatory flood insurance requirement.

Only a state-licensed professional such as a surveyor, engineer, or architect (only in select states) can determine those elevations and they often need to access the inside of the structure to determine the elevation of basements, crawlspaces, location of equipment servicing the structure, decks, and other features.

Each building on your property will need a separate elevation certificate. You only need it when you property is in a high risk flood zone zones. If your home is in a low or moderate risk zone (X, C, B) you will not need this document. We recommend having an elevation certificate on your property when it's in a high risk flood zone like A, AE, V, or VE.
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