The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a
fact sheet which includes more information about who needs elevation certificates and why. Described below are a few common reasons that you would need to request or use an elevation certificate.
Flood insurance policy
Elevation certificates are usually required to get flood insurance coverage. If your home or business was built before Salem adopted the first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) in 1979, it is considered a
pre-FIRM structure and you may be eligible for a subsidized insurance premium rate. Pre-FIRM structures do not require an elevation certificate to purchase flood coverage. However, an elevation certificate may help reduce flood insurance premiums and will eventually be required as FEMA phases out subsidized rates.
Elevation certificates are always required by the City for new or substantially improved buildings in the
high-risk floodplain. Review and approval of these certificates through different phases of a project ensure compliance with local and federal floodplain development standards. A final certificate of occupancy will not be issued until an elevation certificate is completed based on the final building improvements and submitted to the City for review and approval. Find more information about
getting a building permit.
Letter of map change
An elevation certificate may be used to support a request for a letter of map change, which is used to remove structures or a property from the
high-risk floodplain. There are a few types of letter of map changes:
These requests could be considered if a property has been incorrectly mapped as being in a floodplain, a structure or property has been raised above the flood elevation, or for other various reasons. Please contact the city or a licensed surveyor to see if your property qualifies for a letter of map change. After review, if
FEMA determines a property qualifies for removal, they will issue a document that officially removes the property or structure from the high-risk floodplain.