How can an elevation certificate save you money?
If you own property that lies within a flood zone, your insurance premium is determined by the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), which was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, you can greatly reduce the cost of your premium if you present your insurance company an elevation certificate of your property. There are several reasons why an elevation certificate can ultimately save you money.
Although FEMA initiates studies of flood hazard areas each year, the organization is limited as to the number of communities it can reassess each year. This might mean that the flood plain in your area has shifted. Through a basic elevation study, you might be able to determine that parts of your property or your home no longer lie below the base flood elevation. In this case, your surveyor would then present a letter of map amendment (LOMA) to FEMA that would prove your property’s elevation. FEMA would then revise the flood plain, and this would reduce or eliminate your insurance premium.
In the case of Richard Alworth, an elevation study revealed that his entire property no longer lay in a flood plain. Once the LOMA was filed with FEMA, Alworth completely eliminated his $500 insurance premium.
In many cases, an elevation certificate or LOMA simply provides more precise information about flood risk on your property, a tool that insurance companies can use to provide an accurate (and usually lower) premium rate.
An elevation certificate also can help you make modifications to your home or property that could greatly reduce the cost of your flood insurance. For instance, you could elevate your utilities, remove a crawl space, or even elevate your house in order to reduce the cost of flood insurance. Although these modifications can be costly, in some cases the long-term savings on insurance premiums can outweigh the initial cost of a modification.