When it comes to flooding --you'd think the biggest problem for BC homeowners would be water coming in from outside. But it turns out a broken pipe inside the home is more likely to cause damage.

Helena Dolan of Intact Insurance says water damage from a leaking or broken pipe-- is a big problem.

"We've seen claims where the entire house has to be gutted," she said.

It's a 140 million dollar per year bill for Canada's insurance companies. The average water damage claim in BC is $14,000.

"A majority of water damage claims could be reduced if not prevented entirely," Dolan said.

Vern Milani of Milani Plumbing says the most common leaks are usually underneath kitchen or bathroom sinks, toilet supply hoses, washing machine hoses and hot water tanks.

Milani rigged up some typical leaks - from the slow to the dramatic - to show us what can happen around your home. The Water Guardian detects small amounts of water and then electronically shuts off the main water supply in the house.

You install them where ever leaks can happen. We tested one sensor with a few squirts from a spray bottle and it was enough to shut off the water and prevent a flood.

"Just a little drop of water onto the sensors will set them off," Milani said.

The Water Guardian is not the only system a Watts brand detects leaks at hot water tanks shutting off the water and the gas or electricity on electric tanks.

The "Flood Stopper" can shut off water with even a tiny amount on the tip of my finger.

Cost of a typical system including installation is around $1500 dollars. And if you install one of these systems you may qualify for an insurance discount of up to 10 per cent. Check your company or broker. And remember -- while damage can be repaired -- not everything is replaceable.

"Your family photos and the grandfather clock that has been passed down through generations," Dolan said.

A water detection system can protect the irreplaceable

One thing we all need to keep in mind -- if you are away on a holiday -- your insurance policy requires that someone regularly checks on your home to ensure everything is all right.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen