Homeowner's Guide to Elevation Certificates


     If your home or business is in a high-risk area, your insurance agent will likely need an Elevation Certificate (EC) to determine your flood insurance premium. Floods mean rising water. Knowing your building’s elevation compared to the estimated height floodwaters will reach in a major flood helps determine your flood risk and the cost of your flood insurance. An EC documents the elevation of your building for the floodplain managers enforcing local building ordinance, and for insurance rating purposes. 

WHO NEEDS ONE:

     For certain high-risk structures, an EC is required by an insurer as a condition for issuing flood coverage. There are exceptions. For example, if your building was constructed before your community’s first FIRM became effective (known as pre-FIRM) and you are eligible for a subsidized rate, you do not need an EC to purchase coverage. However, subsidized rates for pre-FIRM buildings are being phased out through annual premium increases. Your full-risk rate is specific to the property, and an EC will be needed to calculate the property-specific full-risk rate. Depending on your elevation, the full-risk rate could already be lower than the subsidized rate. 

When DO You Need a New EC

If you make substantial changes to your building in a high-risk area—for example, you make an addition to your home or convert the garage to living space—you likely need a new EC to reflect the new building characteristics and Lowest Floor Elevation

How an EC Is Used

If your building is in a high-risk area—a zone indicated with the letters A or V on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)—the EC includes important information that is needed for determining a riskbased premium rate for a flood insurance policy. For example, the EC shows the location of the building, Lowest Floor Elevation, building characteristics, and flood zone. Your insurance agent will use the EC to compare your building’s elevation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) shown on the map being used for rating and determine the cost to cover your flood risk. The BFE is the elevation that floodwaters are estimated to have a 1 percent chance of reaching or exceeding in any given year. The higher your lowest floor is above the BFE, the lower the risk of flooding. Lower risk typically means lower flood insurance premiums.

ARE YOU IN A FLOOD ZONE

Enter your address below to search FEMA's flood zone map.

Disclaimer: This map is for reference only. Its accuracy is the responsiabality of its owner, FEMA, not GLS, LLC. This map should only be used to determine if your location is near a flood zone. ONLY A COMPLETE ELEVATION CERTIFICATE SURVEY CAN DETERMINE IF YOU ARE IN A FLOOD ZONE.

Information provided by FEMA Elevation Certificate Fact Sheet

Find out more at: FEMA Elevation Certificate Fact Sheet