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Maintaining a home

The most common causes of water damage — and how to avoid them

21 January 2021

As you might expect, a lot of water damage insurance claims are tied to storm season. But there are other common causes of water damage — many of which are normal household things, so it pays to be aware of them. Water damage, if left untreated, can lead to mould, odour and even structural problems. This can lead to expensive repairs and potentially reduce your home’s value.

Water damage is also more common than you think — it makes up roughly 17% of our Home Insurance claims! — so it’s crucial to have the right cover. Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance covers loss or damage caused by water leaks and an escape of liquid, if it’s sudden or accidental.

What’s covered by Home Insurance

Suncorp’s Home and Contents Insurance covers loss or damage caused by leaking, overflowing or bursting water from:

  • drains, pipes, guttering and rainwater downpipes, and sewage systems,
  • appliances such as fridges and freezers, dishwashers and washing machines,
  • fixed tanks, pools and spas and waterbeds,
  • baths, sinks, toilets and basins,
  • fixed heating or cooling systems
  • water mains, fire hydrants or water supply pipes, and
  • aquariums.

Get a Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance Quote 

Sidenote: you should note that maintaining the condition of your appliances and plumbing is your responsibility — you might not be covered if the damage is caused by a leak you could reasonably have been aware of. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more info.

Common causes of water damage

Here are some common causes of water damage — but keep in mind, this list isn’t extensive.

When in doubt, call a home inspector. They often have moisture detecting tools that can spot damage and leaks invisible to the naked eye.

Dishwasher and washing machine leaks

Inspect regularly for leaks and cracks. Pay extra attention to hoses and connection points. If your dishwasher is leaking around the door, the problem may be related to its gasket — that is, the rubber strip on its door. The gasket can’t form a watertight seal if it’s dirty or damaged.


This stands for heating, ventilating and air con units. Poorly maintained air cons are a common culprit. When moisture builds up inside your air con, mould is encouraged to thrive.

Handy tip? Clean and replace air filters often. Clogged filters are a haven for mould spores. Service your air cons regularly. 

Water heaters

Tank-style water heaters often wear out with age. Rust or sediment build-up can cause your tank to explode. If your hot tap water is brownish or your heater makes a popping sound, call your plumber to prevent a potential disaster.

Clogged gutters

Gutters are meant to draw rainwater away from your home. But if they’re clogged with leaves, branches or debris, water will overflow onto your property. Clear gutters are especially  important near storm season — so if you’re in a flood-prone area, get sweeping!

Storms, floods and natural disasters

Weather-related water damage is largely out of your control. However, there are ways to minimise the fall out. Read our prep guide if you’re in a storm-prone area.

However, sometimes, even with all the right prep work, disaster still strikes. That’s why you should make sure you have the right insurance cover ahead of storm season.

All three levels of Suncorp’s Home and Contents Insurance cover storm and flood damage, as well as temporary accommodation if your home becomes unliveable after an insured event.

Get a Suncorp Home and Contents Insurance quote


Read more on Learn About:

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. AAI Insurance shall not be held liable for any loss or damage caused by any reliance on or use of the contents of this article.

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