With the passing of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, many people have seen their rates change or expect to see them change in the future. This has already been the case for thousands of people in Pennsylvania. As such, many Pennsylvanians are researching how these changes could affect them and their policy. Keep reading for more information about one very important area: elevation certificates.
Elevation certificates are an administrative tool used by the National Flood Insurance Program. This government program has been in operation since 1968 and has helped subsidize countless insurance policies for property owners across the country.
The National Flood Insurance Program uses elevation certificates to decide insurance premiums. Elevation certificates can also be used to record elevation information used to ensure that community floodplain management regulations are being met. They’re also used for requesting Letters of Map Amendment or Revision.
Who Needs Elevation Certificates
These certificates are required for any structure built after the Flood Insurance Rate Map was published for Zones A1 to A30, AE, AH, A (with Base Flood Elevation), VE, V1 to V30, V (with Base Flood Elevation), AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1 to A30, AR/AH, and AR/A). You can go online to find out what zone your building is in, and FEMA has many resources that you can use.
For the most part, elevation certificates are only needed for buildings constructed post-FIRM. However, there are some exceptions, which is why it’s a good idea to contact your local insurance agency that handles flood insurance to make sure.
The National Flood Insurance Program requires every relevant community to take on a floodplain management ordinance. In it, the ordinance must specify minimum requirements aimed at reducing losses during a flood. One of these mandatory requirements is to record the elevation of the lowest floor in any new or otherwise renovated buildings. Elevation certificates make it easy to comply with this rule.
Who Can Provide Elevation Certificates?
Only those authorized by the state or local authorities can prepare elevation certificates. These individuals will be engineers, architects, or land surveyors. Community officials authorized by state or local authorities can also sign off on certificates.
At Williams Agency, we’re happy to obtain flood insurance on our clients’ behalf. As many in Pennsylvania have been dismayed by the sharp increase in their insurance rates under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, we’re also happy to pass on as many savings as possible. Fortunately, we are one of the few agencies that can provide you with coverage without obtaining an elevation certificate first.