Elevation plays a critical role in determining flood insurance rates. A couple of feet, a few documentation errors or significant omissions can make a considerable difference in the amount property owners pay for coverage or measures implemented to mitigate flood damage. In an article for the Athens News, insurance, county and commercial property representatives provide noteworthy takeaways that underscore the importance of a flood risk management program and why elevation matters.
Greg Blower of Mathews Insurance confirmed Tuesday that agents have been encouraging property owners to obtain an elevation certificate to determine the true risk and perhaps mitigate premium increases.
An elevation certificate recognizes base flood elevation levels, as well as elevation at the lowest floor.
“The farther below the base flood elevation you are, the higher your insurance rates are going to be,” he said. “If you’re on North May Avenue, for instance, and you have a basement, you’re going to be six to eight feet below the base line.”
Athens County Planner Lori Burchett said that she has gotten a lot of calls from residents seeking elevation certificates, which she said a surveyor needs to complete, and the documents then are submitted through FEMA.
Meanwhile, Ohio University spokesperson Katie Quaranta said Wednesday that in the recent past, the university has constructed buildings with elevation and flood insurance in mind.
“Our flood insurance premiums have not significantly changed. Even though we build in the flood area, we always build to the established standards,” she said. “We elevate all new sites one foot above the flood level and/or we use special construction to conform to the flood requirements.”