Do I need flood insurance?
If your home is in a flood zone, you need flood insurance to get a mortgage (ask about this before you buy a house). But just because you aren't in a flood zone doesn't mean you are safe from rising water, which is not covered under normal homeowners insurance. Check the history of your neighborhood. Is it prone to flooding, even if not directly due to storm surges? Perhaps streets flood and overflow. If so, consider flood insurance. It's relatively cheap, since it is backed with federal tax dollars.
If my house is badly damaged, how do I prove to my insurance company what I owned?
Buy a digital camera (it doesn't have to be an expensive one). Photograph everything in the house, and store the camera or the picture card with the valuable items you plan to evacuate with you. Then you can show the insurance company what you lost. If you have sales receipts for big-ticket items, they will help place a fair value on lost property. Video will work, too.
What does homeowners insurance cover?
Generally, damage to the building and contents. It also covers living expenses until the dwelling is livable again. If the home is a condo, the exterior of the building and the roof generally are covered by the association master policy. Individual owners have unit policies that cover floors, ceilings, interior walls and contents.
What about renters insurance?
Contents and living expenses if your apartment or house is no longer livable. Your lease might not require your landlord to find alternative housing for you.
What if my car is damaged?
Call your auto insurer. If the inside floods, don't try to start it. Cover broken windows. List all lost valuables.