Elevation Certificate

​​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 an 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 Level

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.

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