What is a Flood Elevation Certificate?

A flood elevation certificate is a document that is produced for the purposes of properly classifying properties that fall within FEMA flood map zones and used to determine flood insurance policy rates.  A flood elevation certificate is typically required to be performed by a state licensed and certified surveyor or engineer. Most insurance providers will require a certificate before issuing a policy.

If your existing property is now classified as being in a flood zone, you will want one performed if you are considering disputing it. For instance, your home may sit at a higher elevation on the property in relation to the base flood elevation for your immediate area. HUD, VA and most federal, state or municipal funded real estate programs will require that a flood elevation certificate be included as part of the transaction. For properties that include significant grading or modifications to the landscape, a pre- and post-flood elevation certificate may be required.

How Does the Certificate Affect You?

FEMA periodically generates updated flood zone mapping reports as continual coastal erosion and other factors cause additional land areas to become prone to flooding. Coastal Virginia and North Carolina’s naturally flat topography is particularly prone to these changes. The last few years, we have experienced a push for renewed residential and commercial FEMA flood elevation certificate requests due to new FEMA flood mapping that was released in August of 2013.

Thus, any property that was previously determined to be within a flood plain will typically be requested again by lenders by having a new certificate generated to protect their interests.  This also means that a property that previously did not require flood insurance may now require some form of policy based on the new flood mapping criteria if the property now falls within the new mapping.

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Elements of a Flood Elevation Certificate

  • Determine Geographic Locations of Property Structures
  • Accurately Determine the Property’s Base Flood Elevation (BFE) – Flood Zone
  • Document Structure Types and Foundations
  • Determine Ground Elevations Adjacent to Building Foundations
  • Determine Elevation of Lowest Living and/or Storage Areas
  • Determine Elevations of Peripheral Equipment (AC units, oil tanks, furnaces, etc…)

Alphatec Wants To Save You Money!

Nowadays, the prospect of being required to purchase flood insurance as part of a transaction for a residential or commercial property can sometimes be a deal-breaker as the costs can be prohibitive.  In some cases the property may not be insurable at all.

Based on these requirements and the wide variety of flood elevation certificate surveys we have performed over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the regulatory unknowns that can be associated with it.  When you hire Alphatec Surveyor’s to perform your flood elevation certificate, you get a certificate that is complete and accurate. We also use our experience to save you as much time, money and aggravation as correctly and legally possible in meeting your mortgage and/or insurance company and FEMA requirements. We have had many elevation certificates in the region revised based on our surveys where we were able to submit a LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) Application in the prospective land purchaser’s favor.

What Is A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)?

A LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) application is submitted when an overall property designated to be within the determined flood zone actually has significant areas of the property or structure above the flood plain elevation when a localized survey was applied to it.  The application can be submitted to FEMA to request the property or structure be removed from the flood hazard zone.

The ultimate goal is no longer being required to have flood insurance – or at the very least determine a greatly reduced policy requirement based on the survey results.