What is a Flood Elevation Certificate?
A flood elevation certificate (EC) is a document needed to verify your property’s elevation relative to the estimated height floodwaters could reach in the event of a major flood (especially in high-risk zones). In addition, ECs are used by the NFIP (and some private flood insurance carriers) to provide elevation information necessary to:
  • Decide the correct flood insurance premium cost
  • Ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances
  • Support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Amendment based on fill (LOMR-F)
Who Needs an Elevation Certificate?
For certain constructions in a high-risk flood zone or if your flood zone has recently changed, an elevation certificate may be required if your flood insurance policy is written through a federally regulated insurance lender such as the NFIP. This is because in high-risk flood zones, there is at least a one in four chance a flood could occur during a 30-year mortgage. Private insurers, however, do not always require ECs – even in high-risk flood zones.
Flood EC's are not required and are not used for flood zone rating in moderate- to low-risk areas (Zones B, C and X), undetermined risk areas (Zone D), or certain high-risk areas eligible for other subsidies (e.g., Zones AR and A99).
If you need assistance in determining your property’s flood zone and identifying possible lower flood insurance rates based on recent map changes, Florida Flood Insurance can easily help you.
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When Do You Need an Elevation Certificate?
A copy of your flood elevation certificate will likely be required when you buy a new home in a high-risk area, are looking for a better flood insurance premium rate, or if there has been a recent flood zone change in your area.
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In high-risk flood zones, NFIP flood insurance policies usually cannot be written without the EC for the house or building. Though most private carriers do not require an EC to issue a flood insurance policy in Florida, not every home qualifies for private coverage. Therefore, if possible, it is best to have a copy of your EC when you contact Florida Flood Insurance (or any flood insurance agent) to get an accurate flood insurance quote and policy in a high-risk flood zone within the state.
Where Do You Get a Copy of Your Flood Elevation Certificate?
There are a few ways to obtain a copy of your EC, including:
  • Floodplain Manager.
    Every NFIP participating community has a floodplain manager, which means your EC might be on file.
  • Sellers of the Property You're Buying.
    When purchasing a new home or business check the flood zone. If you’re in a high-risk zone, request that the sellers provide a copy of the EC. If they don’t have an EC, ask if they can provide one before closing on the home. Free Flood Zone Determination>>
  • Developer or Builder.
    In a high-risk flood zone, the developer or builder may have been required to attain an EC at the time construction began.
  • Property Deed.
    The EC is sometimes included with property deeds.
  • Hire a licensed land surveyor, professional engineer, or certified architect.
    The purpose of these qualified professionals is to determine the elevation around the building and certify whether or not the area around the property is below or above the advised flood elevation. Keep in mind there may be a fee when you hire one of these professionals to complete an EC for you and before hiring one, ensure they are authorized by law to certify elevation information.
Why and How is Your Elevation Certificate Used?
If your home is in a high-risk area (Zones A or V), the EC information is used to determine a risk-based premium rate for a flood insurance policy throughout Florida. For example, the EC shows the location of the structure, lowermost floor elevation, structure features, and flood zone.
Your insurance agent will also use the EC to compare your structure’s elevation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). The BFE is the elevation that floodwaters are estimated to have a 1% chance of reaching or surpassing in any given year. The higher your lowermost floor is above the BFE, generally speaking, the lower your property will be for risk of flooding. Keep in mind, lower risk usually means lower flood insurance premiums.
Sample Elevation Certificate
Below is a sample elevation certificate and some of the information Florida Flood Insurance may need to complete your flood insurance policy.
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