Along the coast, flooding is frequently a major problem. If you own property there, it is important that you have insurance coverage and meet FEMA guidelines. The first step to securing coverage is ordering a topographic survey in Mobile, AL from our firm. It will help you receive an accurate rate and assure your coverage. Here are the circumstances that demand an elevation certificate:
- Your zone: The flood zone is determined by a mapping system called the flood insurance rate map, or FIRM. Each zone is labeled by flood risk, and insurance agents use these zones to determine your premium. For example, if the FIRM places your property in a location labeled with letters A or V, flood insurance and an elevation certificate are required. Lower and moderate risk zones are indicated with B, C or X, and these areas do not require an elevation certificate. If you decide to purchase flood insurance anyway, your premium for a B, C or X area will be lower than someone paying to insure property in zones A or V.
- High-risk structures: In addition to the zones, building types also receive risk ratings. These are often assessed by age and the number of stories. Again, if you are in zone A or V, you require an elevation certificate no matter the age or size of your building. For the other zones, you may need an elevation certificate if your building suggests risk. If your building was built before the introduction of FIRM, it is exempt and eligible for subsidized coverage. However, that subsidy is fading out as the number of pre-FIRM buildings decrease, so you will not be able to rely on that for the long term.
- New building or extensive remodeling: Making changes to buildings also changes risk factors. Extensive remodels that add stories or building a shop in your backyard render your previous elevation certificate invalid. When you finish construction, you also need to schedule another assessment for a new certificate. Otherwise, you risk losing coverage in the event of a flood.
- Recent purchase: If you just purchased a home or commercial property in FIRM territory, do not assume the previous owner followed proper procedure. Order a new assessment or update an old one just to be sure. This is especially relevant if the previous owner held the property free and clear. Lenders frequently demand constant risk factor assessments, and owners may not be accountable to that process without reminders. If you want flood insurance that actually covers your damages, do not take the risk and merely assume your elevation certificate is valid.
- Changed flood maps: FIRM is the standard, but it also changes. Land changes steadily, and it is always possible that your “B” property will one day become a high-risk “V.” When that occurs, you will be required to carry flood insurance and an elevation certificate. Even if you are off the hook now, do not assume that will always be the case. Pay attention and be wary!
Call Polysurveying & Engineering if your coastal property requires a topographic survey in Mobile, AL for an elevation certificate.
Categorised in: Commercial Surveying
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