Elevation Survey Services to Help Reduce Flood Insurance Premiums*
We have set up the following system to minimize your risk. If you talk to other surveyors, they will most likely quote you the full fee for an Elevation Certificate which is around $600. By using our three step system, you only spend the full $600 if you will benefit by successfully reducing your annual flood insurance premium.
*Note that the work for Steps 2 and 3 must be done by a Licensed Land Surveyor.
- Research - $75 Fee
We search our extensive database of Nassau County elevation data and we estimate the elevation of the house based on elevations we have of the road in front of the house. Then we will make one of the following Step 2 recommendations:
- Option 1 - LOMA Field Work - $225 Fee
Field Work for Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) - We come out to your property and we measure the elevations around your house. Based on these measurements, we will know right there whether you qualify for the LOMA.
- Option 2 - EC Field Work - $225 Fee
If the elevations around your house are not high enough to get you out of the flood zone, you still may benefit from an elevation certificate. If the lowest floor of your home is at or above the base flood elevation (BFE) set by FEMA, or you have proper venting, then the elevation certificate will get you a much lower insurance premium.
- Option 3 - No Further Action - $0 Fee
If our research shows that your home is too low, that there's no chance for a LOMA, and an EC won't help you, then we will tell you it's not worth proceeding with field work. You have spent only $75 as opposed to the full fee for an elevation certificate.
- If our measurements show that you qualify for a LOMA or an EC helps you, then you move on to Step 3.
- Option 1 - File LOMA Request - $300 Fee
We will file the necessary paperwork and measurements online to FEMA. FEMA will grant the LOMA in a matter of days or weeks. You take your LOMA to your insurance agent and they adjust your policy premium, or you may be able to eliminate the flood insurance all together.
- Option 2 - Complete EC - $300 Fee
We will prepare the Elevation Certificate form and deliver it to you. You take it to your insurance agent and they use this information to adjust your premium.
All about Elevation Certificates
Important Information regarding changes in FEMA Flood Maps
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the government agency that determines which properties in the United States are in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). In September 2009, FEMA updated their flood zone maps with new elevation information. The result of this work is that tens of thousands of properties on Long Island that were previously classified as low risk have now moved into higher risk flood zones. These residents are now forced to pay much higher premiums to maintain flood insurance, which is often required by mortgage lenders.
What is an Elevation Certificate?
An Elevation Certificate is an administrative document used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to certify the elevation of buildings in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zone. Information collected for the elevation certificate includes the type of building, elevations of the ground outside the building, elevations of floors including basements and crawlspaces, and the location of machinery such as boilers and air conditioners.
Who needs Flood Insurance?
Owners of property near water where the chance of flood damage is significant should have flood insurance to protect their assets. Your mortgage or home equity lender (or in some cases, your local community) may require that you have flood insurance if your building is in a hazardous flood zone.
Why do I need an Elevation Certificate?
If your building is at or above the Base Flood Elevation (which is a number determined by FEMA for each flood zone), you are entitled to lower insurance premiums. The burden of proof of these elevations is on the homeowner. The Elevation Certificate must be completed by a Licensed Land Surveyor and serves as the proof needed if you qualify for lower rates.
According to most local building codes, elevation certificates are required for new construction and for "substantial improvements" to buildings in a flood zone. This is to prove that the structure was built in compliance with the codes and ordinances written to minimize flood damage.
Sometimes there are properties identified on the Federal Flood Maps as being in a special flood hazard zone when, in actuality, the property is high enough to be classified as a low flooding risk. In this case, the property owner may choose to submit a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) to FEMA, which is a request to change the flood hazard designation for the property. An Elevation Certificate may be used to support a LOMA or LOMR.
How does this affect you?
The difference in premiums between hazardous zones and low risk zones can be thousands of dollars per year for the maximum coverage provided, which is $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the contents.
What should I do next?
At DeBruin Geomatics, we have set up a process for getting you the help you need while minimizing exposure to wasted spending. Call DeBruin Geomatics at 516.579.3111 or click below for a quote for our services.
For a research fee of $75, we will review our extensive records for Long Island's south shore and attempt to estimate the elevation of your house from those records. In some cases, older houses are built well below the elevations now required for favorable insurance premiums. We will tell you if that's the case, without going to the expense of a field visit and full preparation of a certificate. On the other hand, if the records indicate that you are reasonably close to the required elevation, then we will recommend that you move forward with field measurements. If field measurements show that you qualify for a LOMA or an Elevation Certificate (EC) will help you, then we will prepare the proper paperwork. Research fees are always applied to the cost of the LOMA or EC.
The total cost of obtaining an elevation certificate or LOMA from DeBruin Geomatics in most cases is $600 per building. This is a onetime fee compared to higher annual premiums resulting in thousands of dollars lost each year.
If you have any questions or would like further information about Elevation Certificates please feel free to call us at 516.579.3111.