Flood Insurance and Elevation Certificates

“Do I have to have flood insurance on my home or property?”

If you own your house outright, then the choice is yours. If you have a mortgage or a home equity loan on your house, it is likely be
required by your lender.

While it may seem easy to determine whether a property is in the flood zone or not in the flood zone, just looking at a map doesn’t always answer the question. If the property is not located near an area of risk, then according to the FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map), in most cases, your lender will not require you to carry flood insurance.

The problem occurs when a property is either close to the flood zone or is in the flood zone. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has created the Elevation Certificate, which is form used to assess a structure’s elevation in relation to the flood plain. That form is used by Land Surveyors and other approved parties to determine if the house is in a flood plain and to assign an elevation to the home and other structures.

If you’re in the flood zone, your lender is most likely going to require that you carry flood insurance on the structure(s). If you’re not in the flood zone, chances are you will not have to carry flood insurance. That does not mean, nor does it imply that your home will not flood. It simply means that you are not required to carry the insurance. If your property is located outside of the flood zone, the rates for carrying flood insurance drastically decrease and you may qualify for a preferred rate through FEMA.