Why a Flood Elevation Certificate Is Important and What It Helps You Learn About Your Property

Posted on: 1 May 2019

A flood elevation certificate is obtained after a survey is done on your property to determine the property elevation so you can compare it with the level of flooding that might occur in your area. A certificate is often needed before you can get a mortgage to buy a house or build one, especially for homes near the water. However, if you don't know your flood elevation and you're concerned about the chance of flooding during a rare storm event, then you can hire a surveyor to take the measurements for you. Here's why this information is important.

You Can Prepare for Rare Floods

You may remember your grandparents talking about the time the land around your home was under water, but maybe you've never seen the land flooded in your lifetime. While some areas flood every rainy season, some only flood during rare flood events that happen every few decades or so. It's good to know the elevation of your property and home so you know the risk of danger. This helps you determine if you need to evacuate so your family isn't in danger when a big storm is heading your way and the risk of flooding is much greater than usual.

You Can Consider Renovations

If you don't want to move from your home because of a flood threat, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of damage. For instance, you may want to have your home elevated on piers. House raising is sometimes done when flood areas develop in new places and homes are at a high risk of flooding. If you're considering remodeling anyway, you might have the house raised instead of putting on an addition. Then, you could use the space under the house for a garage or for a living area that you can abandon when a flood threatens.

You'll Know If You Need Flood Insurance

The need for buying flood insurance and the cost of the coverage is determined by the flood elevation certificate of your home. Flood zones are determined by FEMA, and they can change. You might get a notice from your mortgage lender that you have a short amount of time to obtain flood insurance based on a revised flood zone. However, a survey can establish if your home is above the flood elevation or not, and if it is, then you may get out of buying flood insurance. However, if your home is below the flood elevation and you didn't know it, then learning that important fact alerts you to the need for insurance so your property is protected in case of a flood.