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.