How to prepare so a hurricane or other disaster won't wipe you out financially. September 1, 2008 Hurricane Gustav hit New Orleans hard but, luckily, did not cause the widespread destruction that Hurricane Katrina did three years ago. As this part of the nation breathes a sigh of relief, though, residents in southeastern U.S. prepare for Tropical Storm Hanna, which is expected to gain strength and become a hurricane.With storm season upon us, now is the time for residents along the coasts (and the rest of us, for that matter) to make sure their homes and finances will be protected if disaster strikes. The stories below will help. PREPARING FOR DISASTER Before (and After) Disaster Strikes Follow this checklist to ensure you will be prepared. Lessons From the Floods Homeowners in the Midwest can teach us all how to cope with financial disaster. Advertisement Why You Need Flood Coverage Your homeowners policy won't protect you if you're a victim of flooding -- but the federal government's program will. Safeguard Your Home Before a Storm Strikes Take these steps now to protect your house and valuables -- plus, what to do after disaster hits. When Disaster is at Your Doorstep Follow these five steps to protect your home and possessions. Six Steps to Protect Your Home With storm season upon us, now is the time to make sure you have the insurance coverage you need. Advertisement COPING AFTER A DISASTER A Tax Write-off for Storm Damage Storm victims might be able to deduct losses that aren't reimbursed by insurance. When Disaster Strikes Follow these tips to ensure your policy pays when you need it. Protection After the Storm Do you know what your homeowners insurance covers? It won't pay to clean up flood damage, but you may be able to claim more than you think. Make Your Insurer Pay Katrina veterans tell how they staked their claims and got their cash.