Hurricane Sandy was a harsh reality to face; showing us what storms are capable of doing. The storm not only ravaged us with wind, rain but also caused flooding across the east coast from New York City to Cleveland. For many, it took away the very necessities we take for granted.

The strength and speed of floods in our neighborhoods can be surprising and unexpected. They have been known to carry cars away, and even cause costly damage to homes with as little as one inch of water. Floods can be caused by hurricanes, as we found out, but also melting heavy snow, storms, and heavy downpours.

Thankfully there are some things you can do to protect your home (and protect your wallet) from floods. The following tips will come in handy when you want to protect your house.

1) Check your Sump Pump

Sump pumps are used to remove water accumulation in a collection sump basin, usually found in the basements of homes. It’s important this is working and that you have a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure.

2) Clear Gutters and Downspouts

Removing all the debris from the gutters and downspouts will allow the water to flow more easily and reduce build up which causes leakage into your home.

3) Raise Electrical Components

Electricity doesn’t mix well with water so it’s recommended to raise everything that has an electrical current (switches, wiring, circuit breakers, and sockets) 12 inches above the projected flood elevation. This will help save your products and prevent the chance of someone getting injured.

4) Have a Safe Zone

Designate an area where you will place all your valuables, furniture, and important documents. This could be anywhere where you think will be the driest. A waterproof safe would be a good option for documents and small valuables like jewelry.

5) Flood Insurance

Flood insurance covers what other policies don’t while providing the means for rebuilding or replacing items. Since homeowners insurance policies lack coverage of flood damage, without flood insurance, all flood damage will be paid directly out of your pocket.

Be sure to safeguard your possessions with a file of valuable household items, a copy of your insurance policies, copies of all the critical documents, and financial records of major purchases. Almost 6 million people are currently protected, and it’s not a bad idea to join the group.

Most of your home and possessions are important, but never forget what the more important things are – family, friends, and health.