The biggest change you may notice when your flood insurance is renewed this year is a strongly worded letter from FEMA that will come along with your policy, saying that you should provide an elevation certificate to your flood insurance agent.
This is not required. There are many good reasons to get an elevation certificate, but in most cases, providing one to your insurance agent won't help your insurance rates right now.
Right now, no matter where you live in the floodplain, or how high or low your home is situated, everyone pays the same rate. Policies are being moved toward risk-based rates, which are based on the elevation of your house relative to the base flood elevation. This means that people whose homes are higher (and who have less flood risk) will pay less than people whose homes are lower (and have more flood risk).
If your insurance agent doesn't know what your elevation is, they will keep raising your rates indefinitely until you produce an elevation certificate that tells them you are at the right rate. For most floodplain residents, that time is still likely to be a long way off. It's very possible that FEMA will find a different way to estimate your elevation before it's necessary for you to pay for an elevation certificate. There are millions of homes in the floodplain across the country. FEMA is looking at more cost-effective options than having each of those homeowners pay several hundred dollars for an elevation certificate.
Click here for more information about subsidized versus risk based rates.