Why Every Business Should Have a Flood Elevation Certificate

As licensed and insured Professional Engineers, the land surveyors and providers of flood elevation certificates in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we receive calls daily from individuals who ask, “What is a flood elevation certificate?” and “Why do I need one?” But it isn’t only homeowners; businesses can also be impacted and commercial realtors are often faced with these same questions. Here are just a few of the FAQ’s.

What is a flood zone?
A what flood zone is an area that the government has determined has a high, medium or low probability that a flood will occur based upon severe weather conditions. The Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA) uses results of extensive flood studies to determine such zones and publishes “Flood Insurance Rate Maps” (FIRM) on the FEMA Map website.

What is a flood elevation certificate and where do I get one?
The national flood insurance program uses flood elevation certificates to certify the base flood elevation of residential and commercial buildings. Estate – licensed land surveying firm complete the certification.

Does getting a flood elevation certificate guarantee my flood insurance rate will be decreased?
Although there are no guarantees, a lower premium may be possibly yet only the insurance company can determine this based on the flood elevation certificate. If the structure is recorded at an elevation above the level at which FEMA has determined for probable flooding, the insurance company has the ability to lower rates.

What is a LOMA?
LOMA stands for the Letter of Map Amendment and it is something to be requested if a flood elevation certificate places your home or business outside a flood zone. Upon review and agreement, the government will issue a LOMA for the property. Even with this in hand, certain insurance companies may still require owners to carry flood insurance insurance. If so, neighbors and nearby businesses may recommend other possible insurance carriers.

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