Does Your Flood Elevation Ever Change?

Construction & Contractors Blog

Base flood elevation is the level that flood waters are expected to reach in case of a flood. Knowing your flood elevation will enable you to protect your home against flooding. It will also keep you from finding yourself on the wrong side of the law.  

You may already know your area's flood elevation but are now wondering whether this can change. Here are some circumstances than can cause your flood elevation to change.

Technological Advancement and Expertise

Technology that is used to measure an area's likelihood to flood keeps changing for the better. Expertise is also improving. As a result, studies are becoming more accurate than before.

An area that was previously designated as high risk may turn out to be medium or low risk; and vice versa.

Recent Studies

Some areas are designated zone D; this means that there have been no studies on the area. Over time, this situation may change and a flood elevation may be set.

Physical Changes

Physical changes on the environmental landscape can necessitate a change in the flood maps which will, in turn, affect your flood elevation. Such changes can be natural or man-made.

Rivers oceans and lakes may change their shoreline as a result of erosion. New construction projects may cause rivers to change their course. As a result, your risk of flooding may either increase or decrease.

Errors

Before a flood map is released, it is made available to members of the public for scrutiny.  The map can be revised if an individual property owner or community feels that their area has been incorrectly included in a particular flood zone.

Note that you will need to provide technical evidence to support your appeal. Also, note that there is a window of time within which you have to lodge your appeal. Once the map has been finalized, it cannot be changed until the next update.

All these changes are documented on a flood insurance rate map. This is what is used to calculate your insurance premium. If you find yourself in high-risk zones (V and A), then you must get flood insurance.

To get flood insurance, you need a flood elevation certificate. A flood elevation certificate shows the level of your building's foundation in relation to your area's flood elevation.

Flood elevation shows an area's risk of flooding as documented on a flood insurance rate map; this information is well documented. However, your flood elevation can change due to physical changes in your area, errors on the flood map and results from more accurate studies.

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