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. The Miami Herald’s Naked Politics FL Blog provides noteworthy takeaways that underscore the importance of a flood risk management program and why elevation matters.
Many factors influence the rate but the most important is the elevation of the structure in relation to the base flood elevation (or BFE) A community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (or FIRM) indicates the portion of that community that has a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding each year. That is considered the Special Flood Hazard Area, or high risk zone. The higher the elevation of a structure above the base flood elevation, the lower the flood risk. This information is reflected on an Elevation Certificate, a form completed by a licensed engineer or surveyor.
Every property in a flood zone already has had a surveyor certify the property’s elevation. The insurance agent then rates the property based on that elevation certificate. Elevation certificates may be part of a homeowner’s[property owner’s] mortgage documents or be in their file with the insurance agent or lender.
Homeowners may also hire a surveyor to complete a new elevation certificate. The cost usually starts at about $200.