An Elevation Certificate is a vital administrative tool used by NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). It provides key elevation information required to comply with floodplain management ordinances of the respective community, to ascertain the correct insurance premium rate, and to accompany the Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) application or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F). Post-FIRM buildings are rated in accordance with the information provided by the elevation certificate.
"A community's permit file must have an official record that shows new buildings and substantial improvements in all identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)are properly elevated. This elevation information is needed to show compliance with the floodplain management ordinance. FEMA encourages communities to use the Elevation Certificate developed by FEMA to fulfill this requirement since it also can be used by the property owner to obtain flood insurance. Communities participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) are required to use the FEMA Elevation Certificate."
- Source: FEMA
A flood elevation certificate is prepared by a licensed surveyor or engineer and includes comprehensive information relative to a property’s elevation to determine if it is below or above the base flood elevation. The data helps to suitably rate flood-prone properties for flood insurance eligibility. If your property/structure is situated in a flood zone, you should seriously consider obtaining its elevation certificate. A duly filled ‘Elevation Certificate Form’ is also attached with a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) or Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA).
The 1973 Flood Disaster Protection Act makes it mandatory that properties situated inside ‘Special Flood Hazard Areas’ (SFHA) must have flood insurance or else the owners will not be eligible for any kind of indirect or direct federal financial assistance. Moreover, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) uses the flood elevation certificate as a potent tool to certify building elevations of structures located inside a special flood hazard area.
The elevation certificate also helps rate post-FIRM structures and buildings. FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Maps) are made by FEMA and show highly flood-prone regions. These maps are used by the National Flood Insurance Program to determine proper flood insurance rates for the said region. The elevation certificate is not necessary for any the pre-FIRM structures or buildings.
Besides obligatory reasons, there can be another motive behind getting an elevation certificate issued. Your flood insurance premiums can be decreased based on the data provided by an elevation certificate. A property’s elevation with respect to the base flood elevation level decides the amount of insurance premium you have to pay. So, if an elevation certificate confirms that your property’s elevation is above the BFE, your insurance premiums will be significantly less.
Only a licensed engineer, land surveyor, or architect can completely fill an elevation certificate form. In case of a dispute, Californian state laws require that an elevation certificate (duly filled by a registered land surveyor) be attached with other documents from FEMA. The entire process is handled by the land surveyor company.
FEMA has recently revised the elevation certificate form’s format and also changed instructions for form completion. The latest forms and filing instructions can be seen on FEMA’s official website.
Nationwidesurveying offers reliable, professional, and compliant elevation certificate documentation. We fully understand the important relationship between flood insurance expenses and elevation data. So, you can count on Nationwidesurveying to: