An Elevation Certificate is an important tool that documents
your building's elevation.
If you live in Special Flood Hazard Area, you should
provide an Elevation Certificate to your insurance agent to obtain flood
insurance and ensure that your premium accurately reflects your risk. An
Elevation Certificate can also help you make decisions about rebuilding and
mitigation after a disaster.
How to Obtain and Elevation Certificate
Elevation Certificates are required to accurately rate a
home’s flood risk. To obtain an elevation certificate, contact a licensed
surveyor. Typically, an elevation certificate costs several hundred dollars,
and can be requested as part of the survey that is done when you build or
purchase a house. By having your flood insurance policy rated using an
elevation certificate, you could save money on your flood insurance premium.
Comparing Your Building's Elevation to a Potential Flood
Your insurance agent will use the Elevation Certificate to
compare your building's elevation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). The
base flood is a flood with a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. Any
land below the level of the BFE is considered to be part of the Special Flood
Hazard Area, floodplain, or high-risk zone. Flood insurance rates in a Special
Flood Hazard Area (a zone beginning with the letter A or V) are based on a
building's elevation in relation to the BFE.
Elevation and Flood Insurance Rates
Generally, in Special Flood Hazard Areas, the higher above
the BFE a building is located, the lower the insurance premium will be for that
property. The Elevation Certificate provides the documentation necessary to
make that determination. Currently in Virginia Beach, all new construction and
substantial improvements to existing construction is required to be built 2
feet above the BFE.
In moderate- to low-risk zones (X Shaded and X Unshaded) flood
insurance rates are not based on elevation; therefore, an
Elevation Certificate may not be necessary to determine the premium.