How an Elevation Certificate Is Used
If your building is in a high-risk area (a zone indicated with the letters A or V on a Flood Insurance Rate Map), the Elevation Certificate includes important information that is needed for determining a risk based premium rate for a flood insurance policy. Your insurance agent will use the Elevation Certificate to compare your building's elevation to the Base Flood Elevation shown on the map being used for rating and determine the cost to cover your flood risk.
Who Needs an Elevation Certificate
For certain high-risk structures, an Elevation Certificate is required by an insurer as a condition for issuing flood coverage. There are exceptions. For example, if your building was constructed before your community's first Flood Insurance Rate Map became effective (known as pre-FIRM) and you are eligible for a subsidized rate, you do not need an Elevation Certificate to purchase coverage. However, subsidized rate for pre-FIRM buildings are being phased out through annual premium increases. Your full-risk rate is specific to the property, and an Elevation Certificate will be needed to calculate the property-specific full-risk rate. Depending on your elevation, the full-risk rate could already be lower than the subsidized rate.
Elevation Certificate's are not required and are not used for rating in moderate to low-risk areas (zones X, B and C), undetermined risk areas (zone D), or certain high-risk areas eligible for other subsidies (e.g., zones AR and A99). If you need to document that your building is in one of these zones, you can simply provide a copy of the current Flood Insurance Rate Map that marks the building's location or obtain a letter signed and dated by a community official listing the building's address and flood zone. The property will remain eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program grandfather procedure if continuous coverage is maintained.
When You Need a New Elevation Certificate
If you make substantial changes to your building in a high-risk area - for example, you make an addition to your home - you likely need a new Elevation Certificate to reflect the new building characteristics and Lowest Floor Elevation.
Your property may be vulnerable to floods from heavy storms. To find out what flood zone your property is in, call the Community Improvement Department at 343-4192. The 100-year floodplain is an area that will on the average be flooded once every 100 years. There is a 1% chance of being flooded over the life of a 30-year mortgage.
South Pasadena participates in Pinellas County's warning system. Warnings will be given on television and radio. Turn to these media for instructions during times of possible flooding. The hurricane tabloid which lists evacuation areas and shelters is available at City Hall and the Fire Station.
Being aware of steps to take to minimize loss prior to a flood is the first step to safety. The following steps can help:
Tune to Radio Stations WYNF (FM 94.9); WRBQ (FM 104.7 and AM 1380); or WFLA (AM 970) or your local ABC, CBS or NBC affiliate on Television for flood warnings.
Heed warnings from officials; evacuate when orders are given.
Don't wait for the last minute. Make plans now. If you can make plans to evacuate to a friend's house on high ground, it may be a little more comfortable than a shelter.
Have a small bag with essentials prepared. Remember to include any medications.
Be cautious at night.
Have battery operated flashlights, radios, and televisions in working condition. Keep fresh batteries on hand.
Do not panic.
For most families, a home and its contents are their greatest investments. Homeowner insurance does not cover losses from flooding. South Pasadena participates in the National Flood Insurance Program which makes flood insurance available to everyone in the City. We strongly urge you to consider buying flood insurance to protect yourself from a devastating loss. Property owners can insure their buildings and contents, and renters can insure their possessions. Get information from your agent now. Remember, there is a waiting period before any flood insurance takes effect. Even if you've never been flooded in the past that doesn't mean you can't be flooded in the future. Call your insurance agent now to be prepared for future events. Do not wait for a disaster to devastate your family.
Moving outdoor furniture and relocating downstairs furniture to upper stories or higher locations can help minimize loss. Sandbags can be placed to help slow down flood waters from reaching your possessions.
A way to minimize loss prior to floods occurring is to retrofit your building. Retrofitting involves building flood walls, elevating a structure, etc. South Pasadena's Building Official can assist property owners in how to accomplish these techniques.
All development (new construction, repair or replacement work, additions, signs, fences, fill, etc.) requires a permit. For further information concerning any special requirements for obtaining permits for projects in a floodplain, contact the Community Improvement Department at 727-343-4192.
Everyone can help. Keep your gutters, driveways, and sidewalks free and clear of debris such as grass clippings, branches, etc. These things will clog the City's storm drainage system causing further flooding to homeowners' properties.
If you experience flooding due to drainage or sewer backup problems or have evidence of illegal dumping of any debris into the City's storm drainage system, you should contact the city's Public Works Department at 727-384-0701. This department administers the drainage system maintenance program to ensure proper operation and to minimize flooding. Upon request, a representative from either of the two departments will visit the property to review the flood problem and explain possible ways to prevent future flooding and damage.
FEMA - Clear Communication Letters
FEMA Letters: Flood Risk and Policy Options
Flood Insurance Advocates
Pinellas County Emergency Management
Pinellas County Local Mitigation Strategy
Pinellas County New Online Flood Map
City of South Pasadena Flood Facts
After the Flood
National Flood Insurance Program
Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance
State Emergency Response Team