Lowering Your Home Insurance Premiums with Elevation Certificates
If your home is located in a 100-year floodplain and you’re tired of high flood insurance premiums, you can also use an elevation certificate to reduce your premiums.
The NFIP has flood insurance rate maps that help identify whether your home is located in a floodplain and how much you can expect to pay for insurance coverage. But if your home falls in a FEMA-designated floodplain and you’ve retrofitted it so it isn’t susceptible to flood damage—most commonly by filling basements that are below the BFE—you can request a Letter of Map Change to exempt your home from flood insurance requirements.
To request a LOMC, you will either need to apply directly through FEMA’s website or have your licensed surveyor submit the request for you. You will need to submit information about your home’s location, legal description, and use of fill to reduce flood risk. Your elevation certificate then helps FEMA determine your home’s risk of flood damage and whether your home is eligible for removal from the 100-year floodplain.
If FEMA approves your LOMC, the agency will respond with one of two options, depending on which circumstance applies to your home. A Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) states that your home “is on naturally high ground and has not been elevated by fill” and therefore is not at risk of flood damage. Alternately, a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F) states that your home “has been elevated by earthen fill” and therefore is not at risk of flood damage.
Once FEMA has reevaluated your property’s flood risk, your insurer can reevaluate your premiums accordingly. If FEMA determines that your home is no longer in a Special Flood Hazard Area, you may not be required to have flood insurance (although you may still benefit from the insurance protection, and your rates will likely be significantly cheaper).
Note that filling a basement to reduce your flood risk is different than floodproofing your home. FEMA restricts residential floodproofing except in specific communities that have requested approval and created standards for floodproofed basements. Even in communities where FEMA permits floodproofed basements, a floodproofing certificate is necessary for a LOMC rather than an elevation certificate.
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See Also: Private Flood Insurance vs. FEMA