Water damage is the costliest problem faced by landlords, according to a report by news.com.au.

Damages from leaky pipes, floods or storms accounted for more than half of the recent insurance claims submitted by landlords, surpassing claims related to electricity problems and issues with tenants.

Recent QBE insurance data showed that storm and flood damage alone made up 34% of national claims, while “escape of liquid”, which included damage from faulty pipes, leaks or problems with water supply, comprised 21% of claims.

Defaults on rent payments only covered 12% of landlord claims, while theft accounted for 10% of claims. Another 6% of landlord claims were due to electricity problems.

The good news?  Water damages are often preventable.

“We can’t avoid severe weather events, but landlords can take steps to minimise the damage caused from the most common types of claims by keeping on top of property care and general maintenance,” said Frank Costigan, QBE chief customer officer.

Replacing old flexible hoses, for instance, can help control escape of liquids. In addition, making sure that gutters are clean will help avoid storm damage and, possibly, the inconvenience of filing a claim.

Changing flexible hoses when needed plays a significant part in preventing water damage. Over 30,000 claims for water damage in the year to April were brought about by the failure of the braided flexible hoses usually found underneath kitchen sinks, according to the Insurance Council of Australia. The claims for these failures hit more than $320 million, with damaged cupboards and flooring accounting for the bulk of the costs.

These troubles could have been prevented with a simple check of the braided hoses.

 “Not many people are aware of this, but [these hoses] are only designed to last five to 10 years. When they eventually burst they have the potential to flood your house with water and cause extensive damage,” said Arron Mann, QBE head of short tail.