An Elevation Certificate is a form the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses to document the elevation of a structure in comparison to the elevation of the 100-year flood. The difference between the structure and flood elevation is used for many purposes such as:
- Determining flood insurance policy premiums
- Rebuilding to a safe elevation after a disaster
- Mitigating your property from being damaged in a future disaster
- Supporting a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA).
Only a state-licensed professional such as a surveyor, engineer, or architect can determine those elevations and they often need to access the inside of the structure to determine the first-floor elevation or the elevation of a basement or crawlspace. It's a very important document that measures the exact details of your structure that may not appear on a Flood Insurance Rate Map.
In many cases, you will be required to obtain an elevation certificate if the structure is located in certain high-risk flood zones. In other cases, an elevation certificate can reduce your flood insurance premiums by providing details about the structure that a flood insurance map cannot. In essence, more water entering the structure during a flood causes more damage, and less water in the structure causes less damage. Yet that detail cannot be seen on a flood insurance map. An Elevation Certificate reveals that information and can reduce your flood insurance premiums if it shows less water will enter the structure during a flood. Those savings can be significant and effectively pay for the elevation certificate.