Skip to Main Content
Corin Cook

By: Corin Cook on March 19th, 2021

Print/Save as PDF

How to Find Out if you're in a Flood Zone (and How to get a Flood Elevation Certificate)

Individuals & Families | Flood Insurance

If you live or own a business in a high risk flood zone, you may want flood insurance. In fact, your lender will probably even require you to get flood insurance

Why? The same reason they require regular home insurance. If your home were to experience damage, they want to make sure someone will be able to pay for it, so it doesn’t fall to them. 

This is why your lender may require you to get a flood certificate. They simply need documentation of your flood risk. 

So how do you know what flood zone you’re in? How do you get a flood certificate?

These are questions we get a lot from our clients at Berry Insurance. We’ll go into all those questions and more below.

How do I know what flood zone I’m in?

Flood zones are divided into six different categories, labeled with the following letters:

High risk areas: A, V

Moderate to low risk areas: B,C,X

Not yet mapped (unknown): D

So how do you know which zone a property is in? You can actually do this easily on your own with just a few clicks on the good ol’ internet.

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center offers detailed flood maps that you can use online for free.

Simply type in your address and a map of your area will load. 

Full disclosure: the maps aren’t always the easiest to read. You’ll probably need to zoom in a good amount to see exactly where the zone lines and their labels are.

What is a flood elevation certificate?

As we mentioned, if you’re buying a new property, your lender may require you to obtain a flood elevation certificate.

A flood certification is a slip of paper which states the elevation of a property and its associated flood risks.

The lender will use this certificate to document your flood risk. When getting flood insurance, the insurance company will also need this document to evaluate just how much flood risk your property has, which will determine your coverages and premium.

But wait. Even if your lender does not require you to get flood insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t get it. 

According to FEMA, 25% of flood-related claims are from low to moderate flood risk areas (and this is only using data from those who HAVE flood insurance).

To learn more about if you might need flood insurance, check out this article: Do I Need Flood Insurance Even if I’m Not in a Flood Zone?

How do I get a flood elevation certificate?

Depending on your situation, there may be a few different ways you can get a flood elevation certificate.

For one, the seller of the home you’re buying may already have a flood certificate. If they don’t have it, depending on the terms of your sale, it could be up to the seller to obtain and pay for it.

If not, you may have to get it yourself. To do so, you would need to hire a professional land surveyor, engineer, or architect to obtain a certificate.

Generally this process takes about a week to process and costs about $600. (Your mortgage lender may pay for this if they’re requiring it.)

Navigate the home-buying process with ease

If you need a flood elevation certificate, it shouldn’t be too hard to get … you just have to know we’re to look.

At Berry Insurance, we’re more than happy to help you figure out how to find out your flood zone and get a flood certificate, just as we do with many of our clients.

But we also realize you probably still have plenty of questions about the home-buying process.

We answer several questions about the home-buying process as it relates to insurance in this article.