Does ‘Negative Elevation’ Impact Flood Risk & Premium?
Floods have an enormous impact on those who are affected; taking lives, damaging property and buildings, disrupting school and work, and often requiring relocation and disaster relief.
FEMA flood maps, such as the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), include at minimum, the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), the Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
One of the biggest factors that could impact your clients’ flood risk is ‘Base Flood Elevation’ and how their buildings/properties relate to it.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Base Flood Elevation is defined as “[t]he elevation of surface water resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.”
Negative or positive elevation of a building/property refers to how that structure relates to the Base Flood Elevation.
Positively elevated buildings/properties are determined to be above the Base Flood Elevation. The higher above the Base Flood Elevation a building/property sits, the lower the risk of a flooding event.
Negatively elevated buildings/properties are determined to be below the Base Flood Elevation.
The lower below the Base Flood Elevation a building/property sits, the higher the flood risk.
Negatively elevated structures are more likely to incur a loss because they are inundated more frequently, and the depths and durations of inundation are greater.
Beyond the flooding risk, negative elevation will undoubtedly impact your client’s flood insurance premium. Be prepared to discuss what a negative elevation means. Also talk with them about flood mitigation strategies or higher deductible options which can help lower their flood insurance premium.
This article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized advice.