Get A Flood Insurance Elevation Certificate – Laws and Maps Are Changing
Elevation Certificates – Get This Key Document
Everyone in Charleston understands that we have coastal flooding issues with some areas more affected than others. It is simply a fact of life in the Lowcountry. In real estate, one of the more important documents we look out for are elevation certificates (see the example below), which are used to assess a property’s flood risk. It is a document that shows the location of the building, Lowest Floor Elevation, building characteristics, and flood zone.
Get the elevation certificate from the seller before making the offer. With the rising cost of flood insurance premiums, it is a highly relevant detail that affects the value of property in these coastal flood zones. If the seller does not have one, it is possible that it might be on file with the town’s flood plain manager. In some cases, the homeowner (seller) will need to hire a surveyor to provide the elevation certificate. In Charleston, the average cost of a elevation certificate is $450. In any case, when purchasing real estate in a high risk flood zone, buyers should obtain this document one way or the other before making an offer.
What Is My Base Flood Elevation?
One of the key parts of the elevation certificate is called the BFE, which stands for Base Flood Elevation. The BFE is the elevation that floodwaters will reach or exceed during the 1 percent annual chance flood (also known as the “100-year” flood) for a given location. Essentially, that elevation separates a high-risk zone from a moderate- to low-risk zone, and those zones are separated by a line on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps(FIRMs). One thing to keep in mind, however: Floodwaters do not stop at a line on a map.
Flood insurance rates are calculated using a number of factors, but a key factor for homes in high-risk areas is the elevation of a property compared to the BFE. To determine these elevations and the cost of insurance, you will need to provide your insurance agent the Elevation Certificate.