Hurricane Irene is providing a painful reminder that the vast majority of homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding.

That's a difficult reality for those who spent Monday cleaning up flooded basements, cursing failed sump pumps, or fixing other water damage.

Whether water damage is covered depends on how it came about. Standard homeowners policies cover structural and water damage when wind or a falling tree knocks a hole in a roof, or breaks a window, allowing rain to fall inside. But there's generally no coverage for the home itself, or for personal belongings, when damage results from rising water. That includes water that seeps up from saturated ground through a basement floor, and homes near beaches flooded by storm surges. From the Associated Press.