According to FEMA, elevation certificates will no longer be needed to rate new flood insurance policies; however, homeowners have the option of submitting one. Is the average $400 cost of an elevation certificate worth it?  Research completed by Fair Insurance in Monroe (FIRM) shows the answer is “Yes” 82% of the time.

“We found the average annual premium savings is $883,” said FIRM President and licensed insurance agent Mel Montagne.

Risk Rating 2.0 went into effect on October 1, 2021 for all new residential and commercial flood policies and will effect renewals beginning on April 1, 2022. Under Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA will no longer set policy premium rates using flood zone designations such as X Zone.

Instead, flood insurance premiums will be based on FEMA’s undisclosed data set of building heights, or an elevation certificate, but only if the owner submits one.

“It will be to a homeowner’s advantage in most cases to have ratings set using their elevation certificate,” explained Montagne. “The individual savings range from $120 to $3,113, in most cases, that means getting an elevation certificate more than pays for itself that first year, and the savings continue every year.”

FIRM’s Flood Map Task Force made 44 rate comparisons, rating the same buildings, first using FEMA’s undisclosed building height data, then using actual elevation certificates (EC) for those homes.  These are the findings:

  • $120 – $3,113 range of savings using the elevation certificate vs FEMA data
    • 44 Comparisons
      • 36 saw a decrease in premium
      • 8 saw no change in premium
      • 0 saw an increase in premium

Data such as first floor elevation, construction type, foundation type and more are determined by FEMA’s undisclosed “internal data sets” without an elevation certificate. FIRM, encourages property owners to obtain and submit an elevation certificate to their insurance agent for determining rates under the new methodology.

FIRM estimates homeowners throughout Monroe County could see flood insurance rate increases ranging from $100 to $9,000 annually—with an average increase of $3,200–under FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0.  Without federal intervention, next April all policies will be governed by this new rating program. FIRM continues working to keep our local officials appraised of these impacts and how best to address them.


Visit FIRM’s resource page to see a list of Florida Keys Surveyors along with other helpful links.

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