Elevation certificates are documents provided from the National Flood Insurance organization and are necessary to avoid expensive flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established this flood insurance organization and made it mandatory to purchase flood insurance if your home or business resides within a possible floodplain. Mortgage companies oftentimes require home and business owners to keep this expensive flood insurance, which can end up costing you thousands of dollars a year. Getting your hands on an Elevation Certificate will greatly reduce these premiums, lowering your insurance rates and saving you tons of money in the long run. Call us today to find out how we may be able to help you acquire this certificate.
What is involved
The first thing our surveyors will do is measure what we call the “base flood elevation”, which compares the data against the Flood Insurance maps that FEMA updates regularly. What we are looking for is the level the water may get during a 100-year flood event, which is the base event that these things are measured against. We also collect data about the elevation of your structure, measuring inside and outside the bottom level of the structure.
Often times FEMA will pace elevation benchmarks that take the form of concrete monuments or small structures that exist near known flood plains, clearly marking the elevation of flood waters during particularly heavy rainfall events. It can save a land surveyor a lot of time and energy if these benchmarks can be located and the data copied down. If there is no benchmark present for measuring purposes, the land surveyor will typically revert to the services of a piece of GPS equipment that can accurately determine the elevation of a particular piece of land. It typically requires a few hours’ worth of data for an accurate reading to be taken.
Filing a Letter of Map Amendment
If you have reason to suspect that your property has been inaccurately placed into the National Flood Insurance Program “Special Flood Hazard Area”, it is within your rights to send in a specific application to FEMA and receive an exemption based on newly taken and more accurate readings that can demonstrate your home is not in danger of flooding. This “Special Flood Hazard Area” is a location that exhibits a 1% or greater chance of flooding every year, otherwise known as a “base floodplain”.
Working with the surveyor
It is crucial that you work closely with your land surveyor and inform them as to what your property or business is being used for so they understand why you need to obtain an Elevation Certificate. This information is critical to receiving the best service possible with your land surveyor; the more they know about their clients the better they are able to fulfill an appeal to FEMA to reduce or eliminate their client’s flood insurance premiums, potentially saving them thousands of dollars a year. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you find yourself in this situation!