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Purchased A Home In A High-Risk Flood Zone? Learn About Flood Elevation Certificates

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Living near an ocean, lake or some other large body of water has its perks. However, it also has its downfalls and being in a high-risk flood zone is one of them. If you recently purchased your property, you probably also just discovered that in order to obtain flood insurance for your home, you first need to acquire a flood elevation certificate.  

What Is A Flood Elevation Certificate?

The first question most people have is exactly what is this certificate and why is it important? In short, this certificate is used to determine the exact elevation of your property. This information is important because it helps determine just how at risk your property is should the water levels rise. Based on this information, the insurance company can more accurately assess a premium rate for your policy based on this risk.

Obtaining A Certificate

Start the process with a visit to your local county office as they will have details on whether or not the home has a certificate on file already. If so, the hard work may have already been done for you. However, if there is not a certificate on file, you need to contact a land surveyor to initiate the process.

The cost for this procedure can vary widely from company to company so it's always best to get several estimates before signing a contract. Additionally, ensure the surveyor is certified by the state. If they aren't, your certificate won't be valid.  

Problems With An Old Certificate

As previously mentioned, sometimes the previous owner of the property may have already had the land surveyed. Unfortunately, this doesn't always mean you're in the clear. Particularly, if the certificate is very old, you may still be required to have the land re-surveyed. One of the main reasons for this is settlement, as this movement can also affect the elevation of your home.

To save yourself undue stress and possibly even money, ask the agent to tell you specifically what information on the certificate needs to be updated. You might find that you don't have to go through the entire survey process again and only need to focus on a few specific areas.  

When you live in a high-risk flood zone, flood insurance is a vital part of protecting your home. Make sure you are moving quickly towards obtaining a certificate to ensure you are thoroughly protecting your property in the event of the unexpected.


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