What is an Elevation Certificate?

Did you know a flood elevation certificate is not required for flood insurance?

What is an Elevation Certificate?

An elevation certificate is a tool used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to calculate flood insurance premiums and assess your property's specific susceptibility to flood damage.

The certificate shows your property's location, flood zone, building characteristics (such as whether you have a garage), and the elevation of its lowest floor.  The NFIP uses this information to determine how much your flood insurance will cost, and is required for certain high-risk structures as a condition for issuing flood coverage. 

This can impact the cost significantly!

Elevation Certificates Can Have a Huge Impact on Cost through the NFIP

This example used a slab on grade home with a $5,000 deductible. The assumed lowest floor elevation was equal to FEMA's assumed based flood elevation. The building was post firm.

NFIP - Without EC



NFIP - With EC



FloodPrice - Without EC



Actual screenshots of quotes.

How Do You Get an Elevation Certificate?


First of all, it's possible your home already has an elevation certificate on file. When buying a home in a flood zone, you should always ask the seller or home builder if they have an elevation certificate. If they not, you may want to contact your local floodplain manager to see if they have a copy on file. If none exists, you may need to have one created. 

Obtaining an elevation certificate on you own can be costly and time consuming.  You will need to hire a state-licensed surveyor, architect or engineer to prepare one for you. Costs can vary significantly depending on your location and the complexity of the job. For a typical residential property costs average between $600-$2700, but it is not unheard of for costs to run into the thousands of dollars. 

It usually takes one to two weeks, for the certificate to be completed, during which time you will not be able to get NFIP-backed flood insurance.  Once your policy is in place, there is a 30-day waiting period before your  coverage goes into effect. When you add it all up, its possible for your property to be flooded before you can get proper insurance coverage in place. 

Thankfully, flood insurance is available without the need for an elevation certificate.

Do you really Need an Elevation Certificate?

You will need an elevation certificate if:

  • You plan on purchasing a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and you want to get the best possible price on your flood insurance

  • You live in a Special Flood Hazard Area, which is defined as an area with a 1 percent chance of being flooded in any given year.

  • Your house was built after the area was ruled to be a Special Flood Hazard Area. Some grandfathered policies allow older buildings to skip the requirement. This, however, is becoming increasingly rare.

How to Get Flood Insurance Without an Elevation Certificate

If you are buying property in a flood-prone area, you may be told you need to get an elevation certificate prior to obtaining flood insurance. However, this is not always the case. Quality flood insurance is available without the added expense and trouble of getting an elevation certificate. Companies like FloodPrice provide high reputable flood insurance and don't require an elevation certificate. Check out our quote page now to find out what coverage we can offer.

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