FEMA ELEVATION CERTIFICATION
FEMA Elevation Certification is a useful tool for property owners living in (or near) a delineated flood plain. The government regularly identifies and maps areas of land that are susceptible to flooding, based on previous history. These maps are periodically revised as flood patterns are identified and refined, which means a parcel of land that was not zoned for flooding 10 years ago may be in a flood zone now, and vice versa. This is why elevation certification must be updated occasionally.
BFA has the experience to provide accurate data for FEMA Elevation Certification for your residential property.
How FEMA Elevation Certification Works
FEMA requires flood insurance to be purchased for any land on which flooding is expected to occur within the next 100 years (known as a Special Flood Hazard Area – SFHA). The more likely flooding is to occur, the higher the premiums will be. To determine where your residential or property lies in relation to flood-prone areas, a Professional Land Surveyor can perform field analysis, determining the elevation of the land and any buildings on it. The surveyor will then pinpoint the location of the property on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and complete a FEMA Elevation Certificate, which is used to determine how much flood insurance will be required (if any).
When is FEMA Elevation Certification Necessary?
- If you make substantial changes to your building in a high-risk area—for example, you make an addition to your home or convert the garage to living space—you likely need a new Elevation Certificate to reflect the new building characteristics and Lowest Floor Elevation.
- If there is no Elevation Certificate on file because the FIRM maps were not drawn or in force the last time the property was purchased or sold.
- If the FIRM maps have been recently updated to include your property (in other words, your property is now in a flood plain when it previously was not).
- If you suspect that your property’s flood rating has changed, and you want to request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) to change its status.
LOMA – Letter of Map Amendment
If an Elevation Certificate shows that your property is above the Base Flood Elevation at all points, you still have the requirement to obtain flood insurance. Only after the submission and approval of a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) can the Flood Map be amended and the Federal mandate for the purchase of flood insurance be removed.