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.

Washing machine hoses, dishwasher hoses, automatic ice-maker lines, and hot water heaters are common sources of water leaks. To prevent occurrences of these types, Pemco recommends seasonal maintenance checks.

“Homeowners need to realize that seasonal home maintenance is one of the easiest things to do, but one of the costliest things to overlook,” Osterberg said.