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Elevation Certificates

FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps utilize state-of-the-art technology to determine ground elevations (including ground subsidence) and estimate the location of floodplains for major streams and tidal surge. However, the maps do not show details for an individual home. Many citizens in Harris County have reduced the cost of their flood insurance or eliminated their flood insurance requirements by obtaining an Elevation Certificate and submitting a Letter of Map Amendment for their lot to FEMA.

New Certificates Are Required
Due to subsidence and all new ground elevation data, all previous Elevation Certificates and Letters of Map Amendments for individual lots became null and void on June 18th, 2007 when new Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Harris County became effective. Citizens will have to obtain new Elevation Certificates (even if they had obtained one in the past) to determine their homes elevation relative to the new Base Flood Elevations.

> View or download FEMA-NFIP Elevation Certificate and Instructions

In an area like Harris County where the land is very flat, most of the floodplains are relatively shallow and the elevation of your lowest floor and adjacent ground may help determine your particular floodplain status. If the first floor elevation of your home is located above the Base Flood Elevation providing an Elevation Certificate to your insurance agent may result in significant savings, as much as $400 a year. An Elevation Certificate is prepared by a licensed engineer or land surveyor. There is no set cost for an Elevation Certificate - you should shop around to find the best rate for the necessary surveying, though. Residents may consider getting together with several neighbors on your block to have the survey done at the same time. To help make the surveyor's job easier (and less expensive for you), the Harris County Flood Control District established more than 1,500 survey benchmarks along the floodplains. Make sure your surveyor uses the new TSARP benchmarks at www.eng.hctx.net/permits and the 1988 NAVD, 2001 Subsidence Adjustment.

> See new benchmarks viewer

Many insurance companies and flood zone determination companies will assist you in getting an elevation certificate and may be able to get you a reduced rate, so please ask your agent or search the internet for more information. Some insurance companies require an elevation certificate prior to quoting a policy in the 1% (100-year) floodplain. This is not required by FEMA and there is no guarantee that the elevation certificate will save you money on your policy.

> View or download FEMA-NFIP Elevation Certificate and Instructions

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