They key to protecting your basement from flooding is to take preventive measures well before any heavy rain hits. Here are some quick ways to protect your home now:
Clean out your gutters and check all downspouts: Your gutters and downspouts are there to capture water and carry it away from your home. Clean out your gutters regularly to prevent overflowing that will dump water at your foundation. Also check to make sure downspouts direct water at least three feet away from your foundation. Most homes don't have this as a standard feature so you may need to purchase some sort of extension.
Check the slope of your yard: Your yard should slope away from your home. If it doesn't, it will direct water to your foundation, which could end up in the home. If your yard slopes toward your home, you can pay to have it regraded.
Repair your foundation: Any cracks make it more likely for water to get in. You can fill cracks with epoxy. If the problem is beyond your abilities, it's best to call in a professional.
Check your sump pump: Most people don't know anything's wrong with their sump pump until a storm hits and there's flooding. However, sump pump failures cause most basement floods. Check your sump pump, especially before any big storms. They're simple to replace if one isn't working properly.
Invest in insurance: Flood insurance isn't part of homeowners insurance. If you have a mortgage from a federal lender and live in a high-risk area, you're required to have it. And even if it isn't required, it may be a good idea. You can speak with your independent insurance agent for advice and policy options in either scenario.