An elevation certificate is a type of document issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that identifies some of the most important features of your Idaho property, including flood zone, location, elevation at the lowest point and some key building characteristics. This certificate is used by insurance companies to determine flood insurance premiums. (Remember that flood insurance policies are separate from homeowners insurance and other policies.)
You can expect a direct correlation to exist between the height of your property above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and the cost of your premiums on a flood insurance policy. The lower the BFE, the higher the rate you will pay.
Here are just a few of the biggest benefits of elevation certificates for homeowners:
- Awareness: According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flood and water damage is one of the most costly hazards facing American homeowners every single year. An elevation certificate arms you with the information you need for greater awareness of the risks facing your property so you can take appropriate action to mitigate them.
- Insurance: Elevation certificates are required for properties located in certain high-risk areas if you are to be able to get flood insurance. Only with an elevation certificate can the insurance provider offer you a quote for flood insurance in your area.
- Immediate need: Flooding has been getting worse around the nation in recent years—it’s a more common problem than it’s ever been, and it’s only expected to get worse, especially as the effects of climate change continue to make themselves apparent. It is therefore critical that people in potentially affected areas seek an elevation certificate so they can inform themselves of the risks they face and take appropriate action to protect their properties with insurance.
- Future projects: If you will be performing any future building or remodeling projects, the elevation certificate will give you an idea of your susceptibility to damage from rising waters, especially in particular areas on your property, so you can plan around those risks in any project you take on.
- Outdated FEMA maps: FEMA maps tend to be out of date, so the use of an elevation certificate will provide you with more accurate information about the potential risks facing your property than those older FEMA maps would. It’s always important to have the most complete, up-to-date information possible.
- Helpful even if not required: Even if you’re not required to have an elevation certificate for your Idaho property, you can still find the information it provides to be quite useful. Water levels continue to rise, and building code requirements constantly change. Therefore, having updated information about flood maps and risks to your property will help you make certain decision about maintenance and remodeling.
These are just a few examples of some of the biggest benefits of elevation certificates to Idaho homeowners. If you’re interested in learning more about how to obtain an elevation certificate and what you can use it for, we encourage you to contact the team at Mason & Associates with any questions you have.