It's true that these losses get more publicity because they happen in bunches and tend to be more severe, but it is much more likely that if you suffer a water damage loss it will be from a plumbing problem. That's the good news, because there is nothing you can do to prevent storms, and little you can do to prevent storm damage, but there are things you can do to prevent water damage from plumbing problems.
Water Damage from Plumbing Mishaps
The most severe incidents usually occur in a home or business when there is a water line break and no one is there. This is a common occurrence at businesses, where a broken water supply line can spew out water all night or all weekend before it is discovered. The culprits include: blown fittings on water heaters located above the office areas; automatic coffee machines that malfunction and continue filling and overflowing the pot all night; broken lines to a sink, toilet, or ice maker; malfunctioning fire sprinkler systems; and even water main breaks in the ceiling.
In homes, similar problems with supply lines are common, but other common occurrences in are: the hot or cold water hose to the washing machine rupturing; dishwashers and washing machines continuing to fill and overflow when the float ball malfunctions; toilets that are flushed, stop up and continue to run; and bathtubs that are being filled and are forgotten.
As you can see from all of these examples, the easiest thing you can do to limit or prevent water damage in your home or business is to turn off the main water line when you will be away for an extended time. Some of worst days for water damage losses are right after major holidays or popular vacation times when people are returning home. That's when they discover that water has been leaking for who knows how long, and when the damage is severe and the cleanup and repairs extensive. How long you are willing to be gone without turning off the water to your home or business depends on how big of a risk you are willing to take.
But even simpler and smaller steps than turning off the water main to your home can be taken to avoid common water damage situations. For instance, don't leave your home with the dishwasher or washing machine running, or with a toilet that hasn't stopped running. Also, if you are going to be gone for more than a day, at least turn off the hot and cold water to your washing machine. That in itself will eliminate a common cause of water damage.
And one last thing, if the water service to your home is ever interrupted, make sure to turn off every faucet and shower that was on when the water went off. Severe water damage can occur when faucets and showers are inadvertently left on and the water service is restored while the homeowner is gone. So you can see that many water damage losses, and the grief that goes with them, are very preventable if you are willing to take a few simple precautions.