Customer Service
  (877) 237-8950

Frequently Asked Questions




What is an Elevation Certificate?

What is a Flood Zone?

Why has the Government designated these flood zones?

How are Flood Zones determined?

What are the Flood Zones?

Flood Insurance was never required on my property until now…why?

Can a Flood Zone Designation be changed?

Can Flood Insurance Premiums be reduced?

Why do I need an Elevation Certificate?

What if there is a certain day by which I need the Elevation Certificate, such as, a loan closing?

What if I need to change the date needed?

When an instant quote is not provided, how long will I have to wait for a quote?

Do I have to be at the property during the surveying work?

Can we arrange the surveyor's visit around my schedule if I am required to be present during the surveying work?

There are multiple buildings on the property, how do I indicate this when placing my order?

We have a detached garage on our property as well, will I need an Elevation Certificate for that structure?

The building is a business, but it is a former house turned into a business, is this commercial or residential?

How do I know if my property is metropolitan or rural?

What if I misclassify a property as metropolitan instead of rural?

How do I get a certain name to appear on the Elevation Certificate?

What payment options do I have?

How do I know my credit card information is secure?

What is a credit card security code?

Will I know if my credit card purchase was completed?

What if I need to cancel the order after payment do I get a refund?

Do I get a full refund if at some point I determine that I do not need the Elevation Certificate?

What if I am not satisfied with the service?





What is an Elevation Certificate?

The Flood Elevation Certificate is an important tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is used to certify building elevations if the building is located in a SFHA in order to:
  • Determine the proper flood insurance premium rate for the building.
  • Support a request of a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F).
The elevation information must be submitted on the Elevation Certificate (FEMA Form 086-0-33) in effect at the time that the Elevation Certificate was completed and signed. Elevation Certificates can only be completed by a licensed land surveyor, engineer, or architect who is licensed by the State to perform such functions.





What is a Flood Zone?

A Flood Zone is an area which has been carefully studied by the government to determine the probability of flooding due to intensive storms, or along the coast, severe tidal conditions. Flood Zones are designated to specify the probability and frequency of anticipated flood conditions. Flood zones range in severity. There are areas of minimal flooding and areas where flooding is expected to occur frequently.





Why has the Government designated these flood zones?

In an effort to protect property owners from the material and financial devastation of natural disasters, the federal government has implemented various "protection" programs, of which the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is one. Through careful studies of communities across the United States, the government has identified specific flood prone areas, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and now mandates proper insurance within those flood hazard zones.





How are Flood Zones determined?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) compiles the results of extensive flood studies, and publishes "Flood Insurance Rate Maps" (FIRM). These maps, organized by community (city, town or subsection thereof), indicate those areas which may anticipate flooding conditions and delineate them according to frequency and severity of flooding.





What are the Flood Zones?

There are six (6) flood zone designations.
Some zones have multiple sub-designations, as follows:
  • Zone "A" (and its sub-designations: AE, AH, AO and A1-A99)
    These are Special Flood Hazard Areas where flooding may be expected to occur at least once within a 100 (one-hundred) year period. All lenders must require borrowers to purchase and maintain flood insurance for Zone "A" properties.
  • Zone "V" (and its sub-designations: VE and V1-V99)
    Coastal Flood Hazard Areas subject to both flooding and severe tidal conditions. Here again, flood insurance is mandatory.
  • Zone "C" Areas of "minimal" flooding.
    This is the most desirable area, and requires no insurance.
  • Zone "B"
    Areas where flooding is "anticipated" once in 500 (five-hundred) years or, if more frequently, only to minimal depths. Flood insurance is not mandatory in these areas, but is available.
  • Zone "D"
    These are areas which have not been studied and therefore are non-participatory in the program.
  • Zone "X"
    This is the newest designation, and may indicate either Zone "B" or Zone "C." The intent is to readily distinguish areas which typically do not require flood insurance from those which do, thereby minimizing confusion.






Flood Insurance was never required on my property until now...why?

There are a number of different possible answers to this question:
  • The previous owner could have purchased the land without having a lender involved. Only lenders are required to enforce participation in the National Flood Insurance Program; there is no public law requiring such participation. Therefore, people who purchase flood insurance do so either for their own protection or due to the requirement of their mortgage holder.
  • The property may have been purchased before the flood maps and requirements concerning flood insurance were either in place or being enforced.
  • The flood maps in a given area may have been recently revised. This works both ways in that areas which were previously not located in a special hazard area may now be, or better yet, areas that had been categorized in a hazard zone may now be clear.






Can a Flood Zone Designation be changed?

Yes. If you believe that the FIRM designation is erroneous you may submit an engineering study to the government and request a LOMA (letter of map amendment). If based on the study you provide, the government agrees that your property is not located in a special flood hazard area, a LOMA will be issued, and you may no longer be required to purchase or maintain flood insurance (some lenders may still require it).





Can Flood Insurance Premiums be reduced?

Yes, it is not only possible, but highly probable that a lower premium may be secured. Most insurance companies compute the rate for flood insurance based on the worst case scenario; that is, the highest possible rate. However, if the house is elevated above the level at which the government has determined that flooding is probable, the insurance company can use specific elevation information to compute a lower rate, based on a sliding scale. The specific information necessary for rate determination is provided on an Elevation Certificate.





Why do I need an Elevation Certificate?

The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool for the National Flood Insurance Program and is required to properly rate flood insurance for post-FIRM buildings or pre-FIRM buildings rated based upon the determined Base Flood Elevations for the flood hazard area.





What if there is a certain day by which I need the Elevation Certificate, such as, a loan closing?

When placing the order on the website, you will be asked to provide the date needed (Step 1 screen). If you need your Elevation Certificate completed in less than 10 business days your request will be considered a RUSH order and a customer representative will contact you within 24 business hours after you have submitted your request.





What if I need to change the date needed?

Please call us at (877) 237-8950 to change the date. Remember that if you need your order completed in less than 10 business days your request will be considered a RUSH order. Our service representatives will be happy to answer your questions and take care of any order change you may have.





When an instant quote is not provided, how long will I have to wait for a quote?

Most quotes are provided within one business day, but in a few cases it may take up to 3 business days. A customer service representative will contact you by phone to discuss your order and you will receive our final quote via email.





Do I have to be at the property during the surveying work?

You do not have to be present unless special arrangements are required to allow the surveyor access to the property or if the property has a crawl space or basement. If you have special requirements that may require an appointment please be sure to include an access contact name and phone number when entering your property information.





Can we arrange the surveyor's visit around my schedule if I am required to be present during the surveying work?

Yes, just call us at (877) 237-8950 and we will contact the surveyor to assist in coordinating the visit.





There are multiple buildings on the property, how do I indicate this when placing my order?

When placing the order on the website, you will be asked to provide the number of buildings on the property (Step 1).





We have a detached garage on our property as well, will I need an Elevation Certificate for that structure?

A detached garage used only for parking and storage for a 1-4 family residential building is an appurtenant structure and only 10% of the building coverage can apply to this detached building. The detached garage can not have any plumbing in order to qualify under the 10% coverage. If required or you elect to have a separate insurance policy for this building then a separate Elevation Certificate can be obtained.





The building is a business, but it is a former house turned into a business, is this commercial or residential?

If the property is to be insured as a commercial property, then it must be treated as a commercial property according to the National Flood Insurance Program.





How do I know if my property is metropolitan or rural?

If your property is part of a subdivision inside an urban or suburban area, then select "metropolitan". If you have any questions, call us at (877) 237-8950. Note that orders selected as "rural" will require additional time to quote.





What if I misclassify a property as metropolitan instead of rural?

You are given the opportunity to edit your information before submitting the order (Step 5). If you have already submitted the order then you can cancel the order through the website and then resubmit it, or you can call us at (877) 237-8950 and we will work to correct the order and fee.





How do I get a certain name to appear on the Elevation Certificate?

When placing the order on the website, you will be asked to provide the name that is to appear on the Elevation Certificate (Step 4) which may differ from the order contact. As well as the access contact in case special accommodations need to be met for the surveyor to gain access to the property.





What payment options do I have?

Orders must be paid for by Credit Card. We accept VISA and MasterCard.





How do I know my credit card information is secure?

The website utilizes VeriSign Secure Socket Layer Certification System to allow credit card information to be transmitted in a highly encrypted and secure format.





What is a credit card security code?

The Card Security Code (CSC) is usually a 3- or 4-digit number, which is not part of the credit card number, but is printed on the card to provide some assurance that the physical card is in the possession of the user. The CSC is typically printed on the back of a credit card (usually in the signature field).





Will I know if my credit card purchase was completed?

When placing the order on the website, based upon the order you will be informed whether we can provide you with an instant quote. If you do receive an instant quote, once you provide payment information (Step 6) you will be informed whether or not the transaction was completed. You will soon receive a confirmation email from us which has your Order Reference Number and is considered your receipt.





What if I need to cancel the order after payment do I get a refund?

You can cancel your order by calling us at (877) 237-8950 or through the website by selecting "Check Status". You will then be given the option to "Cancel Order". You will receive a full refund if the surveyor has not performed the work requested. We are unable to issue a refund if the work has been completed. The Elevation Certificate will be provided as originally requested.





Do I get a full refund if at some point I determine that I do not need the Elevation Certificate?

You can cancel your order by calling us at (877) 237-8950 or through the website by selecting "Check Status". You will then be given the option to "Cancel Order". You will receive a full refund if the surveyor has not performed the work requested. We are unable to issue a refund if the work has been completed. The Elevation Certificate will be provided as originally requested.





What if I am not satisfied with the service?

If at any time you have any problems, concerns, or questions about the service, then do not hesitate to contact us at (877) 237-8950.





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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Elevation Certificate?

Why do I need an Elevation Certificate?

Who is First American Flood Elevation Services?

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