What is an Elevation Certificate and what does that have to do with flood insurance? An Elevation Certificate is an important tool that documents a building’s elevation. Any property bought after July 6, 2012, will need an Elevation Certificate, or if your client is planning on selling their home and it is in a high risk flood zone, they will also need an Elevation Certificate. The insurance company will use the Elevation Certificate to make sure their premium accurately reflects their risk.
The insurance agent will use the Elevation Certificate to compare the building’s elevation to the Base Flood Elevation(BFE). The BFE identifies how high the water is likely to rise in a base flood. The land area of the base flood is called the Special Flood Hazard Area or high-risk zone. The flood insurance rates in a high-risk zone (Letter A or V), are based on a building’s elevation above or below the BFE.
Basically, in high-risk zones, the higher above the BFE a building is located, the lower the insurance premiums. The elevation certificate will determine this. In moderate to low-risk zones, (B,C, or X), rates are not based on elevation, so an Elevation Certificate may not be necessary.
How do you go about getting an Elevation Certificate? You can ask your local floodplain manager if the property’s elevation information is on file. If so, the community floodplain manager can complete the Elevation Certificate for you. If not, they will need to hire a State-licensed surveyor to obtain an Elevation Certificate. Also, when building new homes the higher you are above the BFE, the lower your insurance premiums.
We at Agent Rising are here to help with some of these confusing issues. We can help point you in the right direction to answer all of these questions and help you assist your clients in buying or selling homes in potential flood zones. These issues are very confusing and vary from house to house and area to area so it is best to contact your local insurance agency for more information on Elevation Certificates and Flood Insurance and how they can help your client.