Mobile homes are often disparagingly called “trailers,” because of their modular nature. However, within the industry, mobile homes are called manufactured homes. However they are labeled, for their residents, they are home. As such, mobile homes can – and should – carry home insurance coverage. While some aspects of mobile home insurance policies are similar to those for so-called stick-built homes, there are distinct differences as well.
Mobile Home Definition
According to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), manufactured homes are defined as “single family homes constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment, built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, better known as the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Code." Manufactured homes can cost 10 to 35 percent less than site built homes with similar square footage and amenities, excluding the price of land. However, mobile home insurance is often much more expensive than comparable coverage for conventional homes, because of real and perceived additional risks.
1976 Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards
The HUD Code applies to all manufactured houses constructed on or after June 15, 1976. Modular homes completed before that date were not required to comply with the HUD Code, and are often referred to as mobile homes by the MHI. HUD Code compliant manufactured houses are often of much higher quality than their pre-1976 predecessors, and can cost from 20,000 for a so-called “single-wide” to more than 100,000 dollars for a multi-section home.
Comprehensive Coverage versus Named Perils
Like conventional home insurance coverage, mobile home insurance coverage serves three primary purposes: protection of the structure against damage and vandalism, protection of the contents against damage, loss or theft and protection for homeowners against liability for injury to visitors. Mobile home insurance policies may provide comprehensive coverage against all three types of hazards, much like conventional insurance. However, some mobile home insurance policies only protect against so-called “named perils,” including tornadoes and fire.
Reducing Mobile Home Insurance Premiums
If you’re in the market for a new manufactured home, consider purchasing a so-called double wide or multi-sectional home – both of which are somewhat less vulnerable to damage from high winds and which often carry lower premiums. Anchoring your manufactured home securely to the ground with ground anchors can also reduce your premiums. Winterizing or installing additional insulation reduces the risk of frozen pipes and lowers your heating and cooling costs – in addition to qualifying you for lower mobile home insurance rates. Reading the fine print and shopping around can also yield significant savings on mobile home insurance.