From 1993 to 2014, there have been 129 flood events in San Antonio, resulting in 16 deaths, 507 injuries, over $14 million in property damage, and over $200,000 in crop damage. For a city that’s located over 100 miles inland, this may come as a surprise.
But the flood risk in San Antonio is real. In fact, 44,403 properties in the city have a greater than 26% chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years. That’s 16% of all properties in San Antonio. Overall, San Antonio is considered to have a moderate risk of flooding.
So if you live in San Antonio, what should you do to mitigate the risk of flooding? Here are four tips:
1. Evaluate Your Flood Risk
The first step is to evaluate the flood risk for your exact property. This will depend on many things, including your property’s elevation, whether it’s near any rivers or dams, how populated your neighborhood is, and more.
Start by checking FEMA’s color-coded flood zone maps. Blue zones have the highest chance of flood, which is 1% or once every 100 years. These areas can experience floods that reach 1.5 to 3 feet or more.
2. Prepare Your Home to Resist Flooding
Next, you should prepare your home to resist flooding. There are many things you can do in this regard. Here are some examples:
- Rearrange downspouts to carry water several feet away from your property to a well-drained area.
- Install a sump pump in your basement to pump out flood water.
- Elevate important appliances like furnaces, water heaters, and electrical components (at least 12 inches off the ground) so they are less likely to get damaged in a flood.
- Cover window wells with water-tight covers made of plastic or metal. That way, water is less likely to collect in them.
- Anchor outdoor fuel tanks so that they don’t break your supply line and contaminate your basement or float away and damage other property.
- Apply strong sealants to your outside foundation, walls, windows, and other small openings. Fill in all the cracks.
- Build a floodwall to act as a barrier between your home and flood waters.
- Keep important documents and items inside your house in a watertight security deposit box.
3. Maintain Your Property Well
Once you’ve prepped your home for flooding, it’s important to regularly maintain it to make sure all your safety measures work properly and that any vulnerabilities are addressed quickly.
For investment properties, it’s smart to hire a dedicated San Antonio property manager. They can easily keep up with maintenance and repairs so the risk of flood damage to your property stays at a minimum.
4. Buy Flood Insurance
Unfortunatley, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of flood damage. That’s why it’s important to get flood insurance if you can.
After all, a single inch of flood water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home. That’s not a risk you want to take. For perspective, the average flood claim payout from the National Flood Insurance Program in 2019 was $52,000. Chances are that’s not a sum of money you could cover on your own.
Flood insurance works much like any other type of insurance. It will cover damages once you meet a certain deductible. Review different flood insurance policies carefully to ensure you get one with the appropriate coverage for your situation and that fits within your budget.
The Bottom Line
San Antonio is a beautiful place to live. But it has its risks. Don’t let a one-in-a-hundred event ruin your home and permanently damage your finances. Take the necessary precautions outlined above and you’ll sleep much better at night.