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How to shop for mobile home insurance
In fact, since the year 2000, the average price of mobile homes has more than doubled. Notice below the steady increase in the value of mobile homes compared to the peaks and troughs of the overall housing market.
Mobile home insurance can cover your home and household if you live in a manufactured home. Like homeowners insurance, it offers liability protection and protects against damages to the property caused by covered perils.
Here's a closer look at all you need to know about mobile home insurance policies. By the end of this guide, you'll understand everything you need to know about mobile home insurance. Let's get started.
If you want to protect your home, insurance is imperative. But homeowners insurance isn't available for those dwelling in manufactured homes. Fortunately, there's a solution: mobile home insurance.
But what is mobile home insurance? What should you look for when shopping for insurance for a manufactured home? And how do you compare one policy to another? Read on to learn everything you need to know about mobile home insurance.
What is mobile home insurance?
Mobile home insurance is a specialized type of home insurance that applies specifically to mobile homes (also called "manufactured homes"). Because manufactured homes are more vulnerable to the elements than traditional homes, they don't qualify for conventional homeowners insurance. That's why many companies now offer mobile home insurance as an alternative.
Your property must rest on a movable chassis instead of a traditional foundation to qualify as a manufactured home. Also, it cannot have more than one story. If this describes your home, then you qualify for mobile home insurance.
How do you compare mobile home insurance policies?
The first thing you want to make sure when shopping for mobile home insurance -- or any type of insurance -- is that you compare apples to apples. This is because policy premiums can vary widely depending on -- among other things -- the type of insurance, the coverage, and the deductibles you choose.
A good practice is to create a spreadsheet with the details for each quote you get. Then it's time to compare the cost, financial stability, and customer service of each policy.
SuperMoney's financial rating and free mobile home insurance reviews will save you a lot of time when comparing your options.
When comparing mobile home insurance policies, ask yourself the following questions:
What types of mobile home insurance do you want?
There are three different types of coverage that you can pursue:
- Physical damage coverage
- Personal property coverage
- Liability insurance
Physical damage coverage covers repairs if the structure of your home is damaged by a (covered) disaster. Such situations might include a fire, wind and hail, ice and snow, burst pipes, or vandalism.
Liability insurance covers costs if a visitor to your home gets injured and sues you, or if you accidentally damage their property.
Personal property damage covers the repair or replacement of damaged or stolen belongings, such as your clothes or electronics.
Most mobile home insurance companies offer each of the above types of coverage. As such, you can pick and choose policies with the coverage that best suits your needs.
How much coverage do you need?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right amount of coverage for your manufactured or modular home. First, determine the value of your home and all of your possessions, including furniture, art, electronics, appliances, and jewelry. The minimum coverage for a single-section manufactured home is around $30,000. Double-section mobile home insurance policies typically start at $45,000. However, you may need more coverage. Determine if the coverage you choose will be enough to replace your home.
Liability is another factor to consider when choosing coverage levels. Think about how much coverage you need to protect your assets if you were on the receiving end of a large claim. If you are sued, your basic liability coverage may not be enough to pay for legal costs, any awards, lost wages, and medical bills.
A lot depends on your personality and lifestyle. Are you a minimalist who doesn't invest in expensive goods? If so, you may want to cut costs by keeping personal property coverage to a minimum. If you're renting, liability insurance may be legally required by your landlord, but you can probably get by with the minimum physical damage coverage.
Plus, depending on where you live, some mobile home insurance companies offer specialized coverage (also called "endorsements" or "riders"). For example, if you live in southern California, you might want to seek out earthquake coverage. And if you live in rural Alaska, it might be wise to secure coverage from damage caused by wild animals.
Are there any additional benefits?
Like all insurance policies, mobile home insurance sometimes comes with benefits. For example, some offer identity theft protection. Others offer alternative living expenses coverage, which pays for hotel costs if you're forced to vacate your home. Find out all the benefits that each insurance company offers, and factor in this value when you choose your policy.
What are the policy's deductibles?
Deductibles are the amount of money that you yourself are responsible for paying toward an insured loss. If a disaster strikes your mobile home, the amount of the deductible is deducted from your claim payment.
Generally speaking, the larger the deductible, the less you pay in premiums for an insurance policy.
One way to save money on a mobile home insurance policy is to raise the deductible. Every time you get a quote, ask about the options for deductibles when comparing policies. Most mobile home insurers offer a minimum $500 or $1,000 deductible. If you get a higher deductible, you can save on the cost of the policy.
The catch, obviously, is you will have to pay the deductible when you make a claim. So, make sure it's an amount you could afford to pay in the event of a claim.
What is the insurer's financial rating?
There are five independent agencies that rate the financial stability of insurance companies. These are A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody's and Standard & Poor's. Each has its own standards and rating scale.
Not every insurance company is rated by all agencies. So, you might need to check several to find yours. When available, SuperMoney combines the rating of several agencies to offer a consolidated financial rating.
Agencies can announce changes of ratings on any day. So, it's smart to check annually on the ratings of any company you're considering.
What do mobile home insurance reviews say about the insurance company?
The best coverage and prices are worthless if you're dealing with a company that won't take care of you when you need to make a claim.
Your insurance agent should be accessible and accommodating. These days, most insurance companies have an online portal equipped with autopay to make payments seamless and effortless. And in moments of crisis, you need to know that your insurance company will work with you, not against you.
The best way to know which companies you can trust is to read real, unbiased user reviews. If multiple past customers cite the same complaint, odds are high that you'll run into the same problem. You want to look for a company with mostly positive reviews.
SuperMoney's community provides free access to hundreds of unbiased user reviews.
How can you lower costs?
Mobile insurance premiums can cost you anywhere from $200 to $1300 each year. What kind of premiums will you pay? That depends on your circumstances.
Several risk factors impact your rates. These include your state of residence, the cost and age of your home, your chosen coverage, and whether or not you've made any recent insurance claims. Many of these factors are outside of your control, but there are some choices you can make that will drive down costs.
For example, if you choose a policy with a higher deductible, your premium payments will be less costly. However, you'll make up for it by paying more out-of-pocket in the event of an insurance claim.
And some insurance companies offer discounts for circumstances that lower your risk factor. For example, premiums often go down if your home is part of a mobile home park. Plus, many insurance companies will lower your rates if you install security features like smoke detectors and burglar alarms.
What does mobile home insurance property damage cover?
The property coverage portion of mobile home insurance usually covers the following:
- Dwelling. The mobile home itself, any attached structures, and all original equipment, parts, and accessories installed in the home by the dealer or manufacturer.
- Other structures. Structures that are separate from the mobile home but on the property (e.g. garages, storage buildings, etc.).
- Personal property. Contents and personal belongings inside the home that the policy does not exclude. Art, furs, jewelry, and other expensive items often require an additional rider.
- Loss of use. If you can't live in your home due to a covered loss, this will cover your living expenses up to your policy limit.
Be sure to read the policy details and note any exclusions in your policy. The coverage only protects the above property under certain conditions and as the result of specific perils.
A peril is an event that causes damage to a property, like theft or a falling object. Home insurance policies may take either of the following approaches:
Policies that name all of the perils they cover.
Policies that name all of the perils they don't cover.
Commonly covered perils include:
The approval of a claim depends on the circumstances leading to the loss. Like homeowners insurance, mobile home insurance won't cover instances that were preventable or the result of neglect.
Property damage deductibles, limits, and exclusions
Mobile home insurance policies have deductibles, limits, and exclusions.
The deductible is the amount you either pay or deduct from your settlement when you file a claim and receive a settlement.
A limit is a dollar amount that represents the maximum settlement you can receive in a claim. It's important to pay close attention to your limits to ensure they are high enough to replace or repair your property.
Exclusions are stipulations in your policy which outline situations or items that will not be covered. For example, expensive items are often not covered by a standard personal property policy.
You should have any valuable belongings appraised to ensure you have an adequate amount of coverage for them.
Property damage settlement payout methods
If your home or property suffers damage, the actual cash basis method is a common way to calculate the settlement amount. This method pays the cost of replacement minus depreciation.
You can pay more for the replacement cost coverage method, in which you'll receive the full replacement cost without any depreciation.
Additionally, you may have the option to agree on the amount you'll receive, which is known as the stated amount method.
What does mobile home insurance liability coverage include?
Now for the liability coverage, which includes personal liability and medical payments to others.
This coverage pays if you or someone in your household is found legally liable for damages. The damages may be to another person's property or a bodily injury. Some situations won't fall under the coverage, such as acts that are intentional.
If someone aside from a family member suffers an injury on your property, this coverage will pay for their reasonable and necessary medical expenses. For example, if your child's friend breaks their arm on your trampoline, it would cover the costs to treat it.
How do you make a claim on your mobile home insurance?
How do claims work? You'll generally want to contact your insurance provider immediately after you experience a loss or are found legally liable for an incident.
It's important to read through the details of your policy beforehand as some insurers require you to take specific actions when a loss occurs.
For example, if a storm comes, you may need to secure your property, lock your doors and windows, and remove valuable items.
It may also be a requirement to make reasonable emergency repairs in the midst of a crisis to prevent further damage. And if you experience a loss due to theft, you're often required to contact the police.
After the emergency passes and you notify the proper parties, the insurer will usually come to inspect the damage. Next, they will approve or deny your claim. Upon approval, your settlement will be on the way.
Frequently asked questions about mobile home insurance
Now for some frequently asked questions about mobile home insurance.
Does mobile home insurance cover leaking water?
Mobile home insurance covers many situations which are sudden and accidental.
A water leak may fall under your coverage in certain situations—for example, if water freezes in the pipe and then the pipe bursts.
However, if your insurer can trace the leak back to a lack of maintenance, you'll be out of luck. Note, each policy can vary so check with your insurer.
Can I get a discount on my mobile home insurance?
You may be able to get a discount on your mobile home insurance, but it depends on the insurer you choose. Be sure to check which discounts each insurer offers.
A common discount is one for holding multiple policies with the same company. Being so, find out if your auto or life insurance company offers mobile home insurance.
What's the difference between a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home?
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), factory-built homes made before June 15, 1976, are considered "mobile homes" while those constructed after that date are "manufactured homes" (source).
The HUD code went into effect on that date, requiring the homes to abide by construction and safety standards.
All three types of homes are built in a factory versus on a construction site. However, modular homes can have several levels and they sit on a foundation like a traditional house.
On the other hand, mobile and manufactured homes sit on movable chassis and are only one level.
What other coverage types might I want to add on to my mobile home insurance policy?
In addition to personal property coverage and liability, you may want to consider:
- Replacement cost coverage. If you get a new mobile home and it gets destroyed in a covered loss within the first five years, this coverage will pay for a new mobile home of similar cost and style.
- Umbrella policy. Umbrella policies help to cover any liabilities that may exceed your limits.
- Residential equipment breakdown coverage. This will cover the costs of repairing or replacing your home appliances and systems if they break down.
All of these go above and beyond mobile home insurance for those who need more coverage.
Can I just get a regular homeowner's insurance policy for my mobile home?
Mobile and manufactured homes are not eligible for homeowners insurance because their construction makes them more vulnerable to damages.
How much does mobile home insurance cost?
The cost of mobile home insurance will depend on several factors including where you live, the value of your home, the deductibles and limits you choose, and more.
However, it's usually more expensive than homeowners insurance. To find out how much it will cost you, you can get a few quotes online.
Where to get the best mobile home insurance
The best mobile insurance provider for you may not be the best one for your neighbor. Each company has its own unique specifications and some will offer more advantages than others.
A great way to find the right fit is to browse through the industry-leading insurers and pick your top three.
Do in-depth research on your three choices to learn more about them. Get quotes, read reviews, and vet the fine print on the policies to identify which one will offer you the best value.
Then, sign up and gain the peace of mind knowing that you have protection for your mobile home and household.
Ready to get started? First, decide which insurance type and coverage level you need, and which would be nice if you found them for the right price. Then, shop around to find insurance companies that are available in your state and whose policies reflect your needs. Once you've narrowed it down to three to five options, request quotes from each. Finally, see what SuperMoney's community of consumers have to say in our mobile home insurance reviews.