The Midwest floods underscore the importance of being prepared. Here's what to do now -- and how to cope after a storm. June 16, 2008 When the flood waters in Iowa recede, the thousands of residents who were evacuated finally will be allowed to return to their homes to survey the damage. Some Cedar Rapids residents who were allowed to go home briefly Sunday to gather belongings reported that the destruction was overwhelming. Hopefully, most will be able to take comfort knowing insurance will cover the damage.But, the fact is, many will discover -- as victims of Hurricane Katrina and recent tornadoes in the Midwest did -- that they don't have enough coverage or the right kind. That's why it is essential to make sure you have the insurance you need and an emergency plan before disaster strikes. Plus, you need to know what steps to take after a storm. The stories below will help you prepare. PREPARING FOR DISASTER 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. Advertisement 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. COPING AFTER A DISASTER Advertisement 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.