What is a flood elevation certificate, when do you need one, and what are some of the main flood certification requirements that you will need to have in mind before ordering one? Continue reading to learn more!

If you live in an area with high flood risk, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to get a flood certification. This certificate is an essential document that you generally order from a land surveyor, giving proof that your house is situated in a flood-risk zone and other relevant information. 

Whether you have a business property in a flood-risk area or live there, you must get a flood certificate as it can be your way out in hazardous situations

Natural disasters can come at any time, and having this certificate can help insure you against terrible financial loss. It will give you peace of mind that you are protected at all times.

However, not everyone will qualify to be insured against flood or given a flood certificate. You have to fulfill the flood certification requirements to be eligible to get a certificate and receive insurance. 

If you are trying to get this certificate for your property or business, keep reading to know what the flood certification requirements are and how you can fulfill them.

1. What Is A Flood Certificate?

A flood certificate, also known as a property elevation certificate, is a FEMA or Federal Emergency Management Association document. It shows that a property owned by an individual is located in one of the flood zones as determined by the flood maps of FEMA. 

This certificate is an essential document for anyone having property in a flood zone, as you need this proof to get flood insurance.

Being located in a flood zone means that your property has a higher risk of being affected by floods and may even be destroyed in a severe flood. 

To bear the financial loss, you must get your property insured, but the building should fulfill certain parameters to be qualified for insurance. The flood certificate defines and measures the parameters that make a property eligible for insurance and other assistance. 

These are the flood certificate requirements that must be ticked off before proceeding. 

2. What Are The Main Flood Certification Requirements?

There are certain flood certificate requirements for getting the flood elevation certificate. You have to ensure that you abide by all of them. 

Initially, when the flood relief funds were made available, it created a huge deficit in the taxpayer’s money as a lot was given away. So, to ensure that the funds only go to the deserving party, the flood certification requirements must be met. 

The flood certification requirements include essential information about the property, the surveyor, the buyer, the location, the flood zone, and more. 

2.1. Property Information

The first among the flood certification requirements is to give out the correct information about the property. This includes all the required personal information of the owner, such as name and address. Next, you need to give the exact location of the building. To clarify the location, you can attach a map as well. 

Another essential requirement is the coordinates for the longitude and latitude of the building. The surveyor usually provides these points, so you will get them when the professional is surveying the property.

For insurance purposes, you need to provide photos of all angles of your property, which should not be more than three months old. 

There must be at least two photos, and they should be able to provide proof that the description and diagram of the property are accurate. So, make sure to provide clear photos. Some other supporting information will also be needed, such as square footage.

2.2. Flood Insurance Rate Map Information

Flood Insurance Rate Map or FIRM information is where you will provide flood-related data regarding your property, such as the community name, the community you are located in, the country, the panel name, the flood zone in which your property is located, and a few more related things. 

An important piece of information in this category is base flood elevation. Base flood elevation is the level of a body of water in a specific area which shows if there is more than a 1% chance of the floods invading that area. 

This determined the threat faced by the properties located in different areas. 

You need to provide more information in the section which is about the elevation of the building. This section required details about the elevation and the property’s setting. All this is usually done by the surveyor or the authorized professional. 

2.3. Information About The Surveyor

Next among the flood certificate requirements is information about the surveyor of the land. You can only get the survey done by an authorized professional the government has approved, such as an engineer, architect, or land surveyor. You cannot do it yourself or have a friend fill it out. 

The flood certification requirements entail the surveyor noting down the license number and providing an attestation that the information is correct. The surveyor needs to sign the document as well. 

2.4. Information About The Owner

This is an obvious one of the flood certification requirements. You need to provide information about the owner of the building or a representative of the owner. 

2.5. Community Information

Another one of the flood certification requirements is providing information about the community where the property is located. Some of the essential points under this category include information about any new construction in the area, the lowest and the highest floor levels, and more.

Some other inclusion in the flood certification requirement is diagrams. Once you have fulfilled the flood certification diagrams and provided all the necessary information, you can get your flood certificate.

3. How Can You Get A Flood Certificate?

You need the help of an authorized professional, generally a land surveyor, to get a flood  elevation certificate for your property. There are certain steps you need to follow to obtain this document. 

In most cases, you can get your hands on a previous flood elevation certificate. When a property is bought or sold in a high-risk area, the flood certificate usually comes with it. So, the first step should be to check and see if the certificate exists. 

However, even if it does, it’s generally not recommended to use an existing certificate because they are typically not updated with the latest information about the property. Every time a major change is done to it, a new certificate will have to be issued.

You can ask the communities or floodplain manager about the certificate. The manager will usually have the document in their possession. 

If you can’t find it with the floodplain manager, ask the seller of the property. If the seller has property in a flood zone, they must have gotten the certificate made for insurance purposes.

You can also contact the developer or builder of the property to find out about the flood certificate. In some cases, you might not have to search for the document, as it is often included in the property purchase deed. So, check your documents properly as well. 

If you cannot find the flood certificate that was made previously, or if you don’t want to risk having a certificate that’s outdated, it’s better to apply for a new one. 

You will have to hire an authorized professional such as an engineer or a land surveyor. 

The professional must have authorization from the government to sign off on the flood certificate. Depending on the size of the property and the extent of work, the time for issuing the certificate can vary.

4. Do You Need A Flood Certificate?

Your property may be situated in a flood zone, but not everyone is required to get a flood certificate, and you may not need this document, depending on your location. Your property should fulfill certain conditions to get flood certification. 

First, your property should be situated in one of the regions defined by FEMA as a Special Flood Hazard Area. These areas are at a higher risk of being flooded. 

The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, is a federal program to assist people with properties in high-risk areas. You will need a flood certification if you buy insurance from a company with its services backed by the NFIP. 

These insurance providers are not necessarily public. They may also be private companies that have the support of NFIP, which technically makes them public. 

Another consideration here is the mortgage. If you are paying the mortgage by borrowing from a lender, the lender should also have insurance and be regulated by the federal agency.

Check the above conditions, and if you do not meet these flood certification requirements, you don’t have to get a flood elevation certificate. However, if you meet all these conditions, you need to get a flood certificate to calculate the elevation and purchase an insurance program.

5. Why You Should Get an Elevation Certificate

The flood elevation certificate is worth the trouble if you live in a flood zone, or if you want to get flood insurance. Without support, you don’t want to risk everything being washed away in the flood water. The flood certificate compares the lowest floor level with the base flood elevation in the area and provides the chances of flood and risk accordingly.

With a flood elevation certificate, you can get subsidized rates from insurance providers if you live in certain areas. The rates will be higher for those living in high-risk areas, while for those in low-risk areas, you may be able to take insurance for a cheaper rate.

This certificate is an essential component for your house and other property, especially if they are located in high-risk areas. Besides monetary gain, you may also have to present these documents in legal proceedings. 

So, you must ensure that all the flood certification requirements are complete and get your certificate in no time.

Getting an Elevation Certificate With a Land Surveyor

If you are looking to obtain an elevation certificate for your property, the first step is to find the right land surveyor in your area. If you live in Alabama, one of the best and most reliable options you have is Tucker Engineering.

Tucker Engineering is a civil engineering and land surveying company with more than 25 years of experience in Alabama. We have a team of highly experienced and skilled surveyors and engineers that will assess you and give you a personalized quote for your property. Ready to get started? Contact us today!