What to know about mobile home insurance

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Mobile homes require different insurance coverage than a standard homeowners insurance policy. Because of how they are constructed and placed, mobile homes are more vulnerable to certain types of weather events. Therefore, you will need mobile home insurance to cover it.

Mobile homes vs. Manufactured homes vs. Modular homes

There are key differences between mobile homes, manufactured homes and modular homes. Unlike single-family detached houses that are constructed on site, both manufactured homes and modular homes are constructed in factories and then transported to a home site.

Modular homes are typically delivered in segments and then are assembled at the site on a permanent foundation. They can be single-story or multiple stories, and are constructed with either a basement or crawlspace.

Manufactured homes and modular homes must conform to different sets of standards or building codes. While manufactured homes are governed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for things such as fire safety, design, and construction, modular homes follow the building codes of the jurisdiction in which they are constructed. This means the same building codes that apply to a house being built in a town, apply to a modular home that is assembled there.

The differences between mobile homes and manufactured homes are a bit less distinct. Some use the terms interchangeably to indicate housing that is constructed at a factory and then delivered completed to the home site.

Others note differences between the two, such as how the homes are secured, to draw a distinction between the types. A home mortgage lender lists these factors as distinctions that are used when they consider loans:

  • How the home is secured: Manufactured homes are secured to a concrete foundation or slab, while mobile homes use tie-downs;
  • Home site status: A manufactured house must be on land owned by the homeowner versus a mobile home leasing space in a development;
  • The date of manufacture: HUD developed codes in 1976 for construction and safety that manufacturers must meet. Homes constructed prior to 1976 are categorized as “mobile homes,” while anything after 1976 is considered a “manufactured home.” Both refer to homes constructed at a factory and delivered to a home site “in one or more sections on a permanent chassis.”

Because the 1976 construction and safety codes were an important part of improving reliability in construction, those in the manufactured housing industry do not use the term “mobile homes.” It is viewed as a phrase associated with the lower, less rigorous standards of an earlier era. However, the term persists in common vernacular — when people say “mobile homes” they are typically referring to manufactured housing.

The most important thing to take away is that because the construction, transportation to site, and foundation/securing are different, manufactured homes and modular homes are treated differently when it comes to insurance.

What does mobile home insurance cover?

Despite the distinctions listed above, manufactured/mobile homes are dwellings, and mobile home insurance covers many of the things you’d expect from a homeowners insurance policy. Mobile home insurance usually covers the physical structure itself, your personal property and liability coverage.

  • Physical structure: Similar to standard homeowners insurance, your mobile home insurance will usually cover your dwelling from physical damage caused by a named/covered peril. Fire, lightning, or hail damage, are examples of the types of things that are typically covered. Read your policy closely. Mobile homes are more susceptible to a total loss in the event of a fire. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, a mobile home policy might exclude fire damage.
  • Additional covered structures: Decks or patios that are attached, detached garages and sheds, and similar items are likely covered. As always, you should read your policy closely to see what it covers.
  • Contents/personal property: Similar to a standard homeowners insurance policy, your belongings will likely be covered if they are stolen or damaged in a fire or other covered peril.
  • Liability: Also similar to standard homeowners insurance, if you are taken to court because either someone has hurt themselves on your property or you damage someone else’s property, your mobile home insurance liability coverage may cover you.

What isn’t covered under mobile home insurance?

There are certain damages and losses that mobile home insurance doesn’t cover. Make sure to read your mobile home insurance policy closely to find out exactly what your insurer doesn’t cover. While it can vary based on your policy and insurance company, there are common things that aren’t covered.

As with standard homeowners insurance, flood damage is almost never covered. This includes flooding that occurs during a covered event, such as a hurricane that causes river levels to rise. Insurance companies typically don’t cover water damage caused by a natural disaster with a standard mobile home insurance policy. You need to have a separate flood insurance policy for those types of losses to be covered.

If you are considering leasing a space for a manufactured home, check flood plain maps to see if it’s near any streams or rivers. Consider purchasing flood insurance if there’s any chance flooding could be an issue.

Earthquake insurance coverage is also rarely included in a basic policy for mobile home insurance. It’s additional coverage you would need to purchase on top of your mobile home insurance policy.

Mobile home insurance coverage doesn’t typically cover the home during transit. If you decide to move your mobile home to another location, call your insurer well before the move. They may offer temporary insurance that will cover your home while it is being transported to its new location. The cost of this additional coverage will depend on a number of factors including how far it will be transported and to where.

Other things to know about mobile home insurance

Because there are so many additional factors involved in insuring a mobile home, few companies provide online quotes. There are a number of factors that affect the cost of mobile home insurance, including the home’s size, it’s manufacturing date, how it’s secured, its location, and whether the property on which it will sit is owned or leased. Since providing a quote for mobile home insurance can be complicated, many insurers require that you speak to a representative before providing you a quote.

Due to their vulnerability to weather events, a mobile home insurance policy might seem a bit on the pricey side, relative to what a standard homeowners insurance policy would cost for a single-family home of similar value. Do some shopping around, and remember that if you’re willing to accept a higher deductible, that could lower your annual premium cost.

You may be able to bundle your mobile home insurance with your car insurance. However, if the insurer who covers your vehicle doesn’t offer mobile home coverage, there are other options out there. There are a number of insurers who specialize in providing mobile home insurance coverage.

Are you happy with your mobile home insurance company? Let us know in the comments section below this blog.


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