Elevation certificates can help you understand many things on properties in the St. Louis area. Flood Insurance rates in the St. Louis area can sometimes be higher. Some of the causes of these are flood claims on a property and risk of flooding because of the Mississippi River.

Today we want to discuss why it is so important to get an elevation certificate when building a house in the St. Louis area. We speak with people everyday who are close to completing their dream home, then BAM!


They get hit with the news that they are in special flood hazard area and their flood insurance is going to be $3000.

What if they could have avoided this terrible news?

Well an elevation certificate could have very well done that.

You see an elevation certificate tells you alot of things when done correctly.

We say correctly because many times these are filled out incorrectly. Before we get to that lets talk about some things that an elevation certificate can tell you

  1. The flood zone
  2. The foundation type
  3. FIRM date
  4. Negative and positive elevations
  5. Date certificate was completed

Remember how we said if sone correctly well technically surveyors are only held liable for the elevation numbers. This means if they put the wrong foundation type or flood zone they are not responsible. This is why its always recommended that you reach out to someone like The Flood Insurance Guru that can help you verify the other information.

So let's talk about flood zones first. The elevation certificate should list the flood zone this will tell you if you are in a mandatory or non mandatory flood zone. This will basically tell you if flood insurance is required or not.

The next thing an elevation certificate in the St. Louis area can tell you is what the foundation type of the property is.

  1. Basements
  2. Crawlspaces
  3. Slabs
  4. Elevated Buildings

Foundation type can play a major role in your flood insurance rates when the elevation numbers are known. Which leads us to elevations on an elevation certificate.

This will tell you if your property is positive or negative on elevations. Usually the more negative the higher the flood insurance rate.

One the last things that an elevation certificate can tell you is when it was completed.

The date of this elevation certificate can play a major role in future flood insurance rates.

So now let's get to the real importance of getting an elevation certificate when building this dream house.

One day you will see this house and this is when it could play a mjor role. There is this thing called date of compliance. This means that when your home was built it was built within compliance at the time.

Two things normally used to prove this are an elevation certificate and the original flood insurance rate map. This will show the original flood zones and the elevations of the home.

So let's look at an example.

I purchased a home about 10 years ago. When I went to buy it I found out it was in a flood zone. I was given rates of $3000 a year. However I knew something was not right. I was able to find the original elevation certificate and the original flood insurance rate map that showed the home was built within compliance at the time.

As a result my home was grandfathered to what the flood zone was when the home was built. So you are probably wondering what was the flood insurance rate?

It was $350 a year, thats a big difference on a mortgage payment.

Its important to know that FEMA is working on phasing out grandfathering properties. One of the reasons is to make sure the risk of properties meet the appropriate premium. Also a property can only be grandfathered once so if you let the policy lapse there is no way to get that flood insurance rate.

So if you think your property may qualify for the date of compliance rule in the St. Louis area then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily podcast and our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation


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