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My Property and the Floodplain



Flood Information



My Property & the Floodplain


If your property is considered in a high-risk area of flooding, you will need Flood Insurance. The Elevation Certificate EC shows how your property’s elevation compares to the base flood elevation on a Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) flood map. If you write your policy through a private carrier, they do not typically require EC for any zone. When you are buying a new home in a high-risk area, are looking for better rate options, or there has been a recent flood zone change in the community – you will more than likely need a copy of your EC. In high-risk flood zones, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies cannot be written without the EC for the property. Though most private carriers may not require an EC to issue a policy, not every home/structure will qualify for private coverage; therefore, when you contact New Jersey Flood Insurance (or any insurance agent) to purchase flood insurance and you live in a high-risk area having a copy of your EC is suggestedA FLOOD INSURANCE POLICY FROM THE NFIP NORMALLY CARRY A 30-DAY WAITING PERIOD BEFORE IT BECOMES ACTIVE. If you purchase private insurance, the waiting period can vary and is between 14 and 30 days.

Check the Highlands Borough Flood Information (use link at tope of page) to see your site=specific FEMA Flood Map site-specific property profile. 

When should a Flood EC be required in a flood zone?

  • Buying a new house or looking for better rate options in a high-risk area
  • Recent flood-zone change in the community.

NFIP 2.0 rating took effect October 2021. Under NFIP’s pricing approach, an EC is no longer required to purchase coverage, instead, FEMA uses its tools and resources to determine the first-floor height of a building as one of the factors used when calculating rates. 

What is the purpose of the (NFIP)

NFIP insurance is intended to furnish as an insurance alternative to disaster assistance and reduces the rising costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. A homeowner can purchase excess flood insurance, but the homeowner must be covered by NFIP Flood Insurance first. Residential, industrial, commercial, and agricultural buildings that are walled and roofed structures that are principally above ground are eligible for NFIP Flood Insurance coverage.

An EC is an administrative tool used by the NFIP to provide elevation information necessary to ensure:

  • compliance with community floodplain management ordinances.
  • to inform mitigation actions that will lower flood risk and determine if it will lower their insurance costs - which affects Highlands Borough eligibility for Community Rating insurance discounts.

FEMA (EC) is a document that protects property owners from overpaying on flood insurance. ECs are regulated by FEMA and completed by a licensed engineer or surveyor to influence flood insurance rates and flood zone maps around the country. The EC contains information about the characteristics of your property structure that determine how it would react to potential flood damage. It shows structural details like its size, number of openings, whether the property is in a flood zone or not and its elevation. On an EC, the elevation of your house is compared to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) of your area. The BFE is the level of water that FEMA expects to see in your area if you experience a serious flood. Thus, the elevation of your house is a major influence on your flood insurance premium. The higher the structure is above the Base Flood Elevation BFE, the lower risk you have of flood damage, so the less you pay for flood insurance. 

Your (EC) - There are a number of ways to obtain a copy of your EC, including:

  • Developer or Builder

In a high-risk area, the developer or builder may have been required to have an EC at the time they began building.

  • Sellers of the Building

When purchasing a new home, request that the sellers provide a copy of the EC for the property – especially if the home is in a high-risk zone. If they do not have an EC, ask if one can be provided before the closing.

  • Floodplain Managers

Every NFIP participating community has a floodplain manager.

Contact Highlands Floodplain Administrator

Explore your Highlands Borough Property Profile using Highlands Borough Public Floodplain Platform link                                    

Where to find an ECs

Property Deed - Occasionally the EC is included with the paperwork.                                

Hire a licensed land surveyor, engineer, or architect.      The surveyors’ duty is to define the elevation around the building areas on the property and to certify whether the area in question is under or above the prescribed flood elevation. Keep in mind there is a cost associated when you hire a professional to complete and EC on your behalf. As a precaution, ensure the one you hire has been authorized by law to certify elevation information.