According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in the nation.

In North Carolina, Hurricane Florence destroyed more than 4,300 homes and more than 300 businesses. Much of the storm’s path sits in what FEMA designates as a flood zone. While there is little to be done to quell the damage of a storm like Florence, home and business owners can lower their insurance premiums with better coverage by obtaining an Elevation Certificate.


An Elevation Certificate is an official document created by a licensed engineer or surveyor after inspecting a property. The engineer or surveyor records the elevation of the building, or proposed building, which can be used to rate flood risk. This information shows compliance with the local floodplain management ordinance, which varies by county per FEMA’s assessment. Home and business owners can use what FEMA calls a Flood Insurance Rate Map, or a FIRM, to get an idea of their community flood risk and insurance premium zones before acquiring an Elevation Certificate. Though the certificate may be required for certain low-lying areas of the United States, FEMA encourages all communities to have their land surveyed regardless of location in the event of any natural disaster.


If a property owner seeks flood insurance for their home or business, they should obtain an Elevation Certificate before approaching an insurance company. An insurance agent will rate the building in relation to the Base Flood Elevation, or the BFE, which determines how high the water will rise in a certain area during a flood. This rating impacts the cost of insurance premiums and coverage options, particularly in high risk flood zones that can incur the most damage. In some cases, home and business owners who build more than three feet above the BFE save significant money on their insurance rates. FEMA estimates that savings on a single-family home meeting compliance within a high-probability flood zone may total approximately $90,000 over a ten-year period.

Professional Land Surveyors, licensed in six states, serves flood hazard zones in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Using the latest surveying technology, including a high precision GPS, Lowery & Associates guarantees accurate and expedient services for both commercial businesses and residential properties. By contracting with Professional Land Surveyors, owners will be able to acquire the most thorough information available to properly insure and protect their property.