This is a tricky and sometimes confusing component of house hunting. You will hear lots of different lingo surrounding the discussion of flood insurance when you are in the process of buying a home on a barrier island, or on the mainland in a flood plain.
As an owner, you should have two things available...
1. A copy of your current Flood Policy
2. A copy of your current Elevation Certificate
If your home was built before September 1, 1977 this is considered FEMA Pre-Firm Policy and you will get the best rate without an Elevation Certificate.
If you are using the home as a secondary home or a rental and are seeking flood insurance in the private flood market, NO ELEVATION CERTIFICATE is needed.
If your home was built after 1977, but before 1984, the town will not have an elevation certificate so it needs to be received from the county or order a new elevation certificate. The county is not as accurate as Hilton Head Island so sometimes finding this elevation certificate can be tricky. You may be better off to order a new one.
If the home was built after 1984, the building codes and elevation should be to code, and you do not risk having an elevation issue cause a contract issue on the sale of your home.
If you are looking to buy a home in the Low Country, the trickiest homes to buy are those that were built prior to 1977, with its primary use as a second home. If the home is elevated, but not properly vented, that is a relatively easy fix and adding proper venting will cost approximately $1500-$2500. This will make the home FEMA Compliant.
With a home of this age, the sellers ACTIVE policy will be grandfathered into effect, the most important component of this is that the policy must remain active.
It is always best to work directly with an insurance professional regarding any questions about Flood Insurance when you are buying or selling a home. Our friends at Colonial South Insurance can be extremely helpful if you need a professional opinion or quote on Home Owners Insurance.