If you live in a high-risk flood area and have previously received federal disaster assistance from FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration, you may be required to purchase flood insurance to be considered for any future federal disaster aid. Your mortgage lender may also require flood insurance.
Even if you don’t live in a flood-prone zone, getting flood insurance is still a wise move. One in five insurance claims come from outside high-risk areas. Floods can happen in inland areas due to an overflowing creek, for example, or water coming down a hillside. According to FEMA, no home is completely safe from the risk of flooding.
If a flood hits your area, you might expect the federal government to swoop in and take care of things. But federal disaster assistance only kicks in if the President declares the flood a federal disaster. Even then, while the government might offer a loan to help repair your home, you’d need to pay it back—with interest. Flood insurance, on the other hand, will pay you outright for flood damage, whether or not the flood is deemed a national disaster.