What is an Elevation Certificate?
An elevation certificate (EC) is an essential tool that documents and confirms your home’s elevation relative to the estimated height floodwaters will reach in the event of a major flood in a high-risk area. In addition, ECs are used by the NFIP to provide elevation information needed to:
  • Determine the proper insurance premium 
  • Ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances
  • Support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Amendment based on fill (LOMR-F)    
Who Needs an Elevation Certificate?
For certain buildings in a high-risk zone, an EC may be required if the flood insurance policy is written through a federally regulated insurance lender such as the NFIP. This is because in high-risk areas, there is at least a one in four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. However, private insurers do not typically require ECs for any zone.
ECs are not required and are not used for flood zone rating in moderate- to low-risk areas (Zones B, C and X), undetermined risk areas (Zone D), or certain high-risk areas eligible for other subsidies (e.g., Zones AR and A99). Texas Flood Insurance can assist with determining or providing your flood zone, and with identifying possible lower rates based on recent map changes.
When Do You Need an
Elevation Certificate?
When you purchase a new home in a high-risk area, are looking for a better premium, or there has been a recent flood zone change in your area – a copy of your EC will more than likely be needed.
In high-risk flood zones, NFIP policies cannot be written without the EC for the home or building. Though most private carriers may not require an EC to issue a policy, not every home will qualify for private coverage. Therefore, when you contact Texas Flood Insurance (or any insurance agent) to purchase flood insurance and you live in a high-risk area, having a copy of your EC is best.
Where to Get a Copy of Your Elevation Certificate?
There are a few ways to obtain a copy of your EC, including:
  • Floodplain Managers.
    Every NFIP participating community has a floodplain manager and one might already be on file.
  • Sellers of the Home.
    When buying a new home, request that the sellers provide a copy of the EC – especially if the home is in a high-risk zone. If they don’t have an EC, ask if they can provide one before the closing.
  • Developer or Builder.
    In a high-risk area, the developer or builder might have been required to obtain an EC at the time they built the home.
  • Property Deed.
    Sometimes the EC is included.
  • Hire a licensed land surveyor, professional engineer, or certified architect.
    The surveyors’ duty is to determine the elevation around the building areas on the property and to certify whether or not the area in question is under or above the prescribed flood elevation.  Keep in mind, there is a fee when these professionals complete an EC for you.  However, before you hire one, ensure they are authorized by law to certify elevation information.
Why & How is Your
Elevation Certificate Used?
If your building is in a high-risk area (Zones A or V), the EC includes important information that is needed for determining a risk-based premium for a flood insurance policy. For example, the EC shows the location of the building, lowest floor elevation, building characteristics, and flood zone.
Your insurance agent will use the EC to compare your building’s elevation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). The BFE is the elevation that floodwaters are estimated to have a one percent chance of reaching or exceeding in any given year. The higher your lowest floor is above the BFE, the lower the risk of flooding. Lower risk typically means lower flood insurance premiums. 
Sample Elevation Certificate
Take a look at a sample elevation certificate and some of the information Texas Flood Insurance will need to write your flood insurance policy.
Have additional questions about your elevation certificate?