Four in 10 homeowners fail to perform the simple tasks that could prevent an occurrence that accounts for a large proportion of homeowner claims, according to a recent poll by Pemco Insurance. Water damage, the number one homeowners' claim, costs insureds and insurers more every year than fire, storms, or theft.

"Fortunately, most water-damage claims can be prevented with simple maintenance," said Jon Osterberg, a spokesman for the company. "You never want to ignore a water leak, or put off replacing hoses, water lines, or pipes that you know are worn."

A broken water hose can cost homeowners an average of $500, the typical deductible per claim. When hardwood floors are involved, costs can reach well into the thousands. Water damage also can cause mold, resulting in further damage.

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