A flood elevation certificate becomes necessary to help determine coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program. It indicates the elevation of a building on land in order to estimate vulnerability in the event of a flood. This certificate is frequently a requirement for homes and businesses in high-risk areas if you want to secure flood insurance. Here are the circumstances in which you may need a flood elevation certificate in Texas:
- You are in the zone: The U.S. government established a system for flood risk called the flood insurance rate map or FIRM. It labels zones that show flood risk. If your property is located in a zone marked with letters A or V, flood insurance and an elevation certificate are both required. In addition to determining risk, the zones also help insurance agents assess premiums. Lower and moderate risk areas are indicated with B, C or X and do not require an elevation certificate. If you live in one of these areas and decide to invest in flood insurance, it is likely your premium will be lower than that paid by someone living in zones A or V.
- You own a high-risk structure: Building types are also rated with risk, often assessed by their height. Age can also be a factor in these ratings, too. If the FIRM considers your home or business premises high-risk as rated by the FIRM, an elevation certificate is definitely required. Buildings constructed before FIRM was implemented are exempt and eligible for subsidized coverage. However, be aware that this subsidy is being phased out as the number of pre-FIRM buildings decrease, so you should not rely on it in the long term.
- You remodeled or built a new structure: Changes to your structures will change risk factors. If you finish an extensive remodel or add the shop of your dreams, realize that your previous elevation certificate is no longer valid. You will need to make arrangements to have a new one drafted to reflect current circumstances and assure full coverage.
- You purchased property from a long-term owner: It is possible that you will decide to invest in property that the previous owner purchased before the advent of the FIRM system. When you come across this situation, it is a good idea to have the property assessed for risk factors in case you need an elevation certificate now. This is especially true if that owner held the property outright, without a lender involved. In these cases, they may have never arranged for a certificate, but you will likely need it in order to secure flood insurance coverage.
- The flood maps were revised: FIRM maps are not static. Landscape changes steadily and your “B” rated zone could one day find itself to be an “A.” If that occurs, flood insurance will become required, and with it, the elevation certificate.
D.G. Smyth & Company can help you secure a flood elevation certificate in Texas if you own property in a high-risk area. Contact us today to make arrangements.