Manufactured homes, more commonly known as mobile homes, are a popular housing option in the United States. Nationwide, approximately 10.5 million adults live in mobile homes. Mortgage lenders and mobile home parks often require proof of mobile home insurance. But even when it’s not required, mobile home insurance can help homeowners protect their home and its contents. Learn why this coverage could be vital to keeping your possessions safe in case of emergency.
What Is Mobile Home Insurance?
Mobile home insurance is a type of homeowner’s insurance specifically tailored for those living in mobile or manufactured homes. It works similarly to standard homeowner’s insurance, but includes extra provisions for risks specific to mobile homes, such as transit risk for when the home is being transported from one location to another.
Like standard homeowner’s insurance, mobile home insurance helps protect homeowners from the financial costs of certain unexpected events, such as fires, vandalism, and storm damage. It helps homeowners pay for repairs, or to rebuild or replace their home structures and personal belongings.
What Counts as a Mobile Home?
Insurers consider the design of the home when deciding whether a home ought to be covered by a standard policy or a mobile home policy. For the purposes of insurance, a home counts as a mobile home if it’s built on a permanent chassis or frame and can be transported in one or more sections. Mobile homes can be used with or without a permanent foundation.
The term “mobile home” and “manufactured home” are often used interchangeably, and are essentially the same thing. The difference is that “mobile homes” are those that were built before 1976, while “manufactured homes” are those that were built after.
Modular homes, on the other hand, are not considered mobile homes. These homes are built in factories, but are then assembled on a permanent foundation that is not designed to be moved, unlike mobile homes. Insurers cover these homes under standard homeowner’s insurance policies.
In addition, recreational vehicles (RVs) like motorhomes are not considered mobile homes. Instead, park models and recreational park trailers are considered RVs, even though they may look similar to mobile homes. These types of residences are insured through RV insurance policies.
Why Do Mobile Home Owners Need Different Homeowner’s Insurance?
Mobile homes have some unique vulnerabilities, which is why they’re covered by a different type of homeowner’s insurance than conventional homes. For example, they face a risk of collision damage while in transit, and when they’re stored at a fixed location, they may be more vulnerable to fire and wind damage because of their smaller size and construction.
Mobile homes tend to have a smaller footprint than conventional homes, so when a fire starts, it can spread from room to room quickly. Narrow roads and limited fire hydrant access in mobile home parks can also slow down firefighting responses and allow fires to grow.
Wind damage is another area where mobile homes and conventional homes differ. Mobile homes are typically held in place by ground anchors and steel straps, which do not withstand wind as well as conventional foundations. Strong winds can lift or roll a mobile home off its foundation, so some insurers may offer coverages specific to these risks.
When a Mobile Home Is Moving, What Insurance Covers It?
A standard mobile home policy covers the home when it’s stored at a fixed location. If you would like to ensure your home is protected while it’s on the move, you can add transportation coverage to your policy with an endorsement or rider. This helps protect it against damages sustained as it is being driven from one location to another.
What Does Mobile Home Insurance Cover?
Standard mobile home insurance policies offer coverage for both physical damage and personal liability, and insurers often sell optional add-ons for homeowners who want more coverage. The two main types of policies are named and open peril policies, which dictate how many events are covered or specifically excluded from coverage.
Open perils policies, also known as all-risk policies, cover any unexpected event or disaster the policy does not specifically exclude. Some common exclusions include earthquakes, floods, and sewer backups. These types of policies tend to offer more comprehensive coverage than named peril policies.
Named perils policies only cover losses and damages that result from the specific events listed in the policy. For example, a named perils mobile home policy might explicitly state that it covers damages caused by fire, lightning, explosion, theft, and vandalism. In this type of policy, any peril that is not named would not be covered.
Specific mobile home insurance coverage varies between insurers and plans, but there are some standard coverages included in most policies.
Dwelling coverage is the part of a standard mobile home insurance policy that covers damages to the physical structure of the home. This includes structures that are attached to the home, such as a screened-in porch. Dwelling coverage also includes permanently installed building materials like cabinets and countertops.
To calculate the amount of coverage needed, determine the cost it would take to replace your mobile home if it were destroyed. As of June 2022, the national average sale price for a new single-wide home was $87,600, while a new double-wide cost $159,600. However, actual replacement costs vary based on location and home size.
Other structures coverage is the part of a mobile home policy that covers damages to detached structures on the property. These structures include sheds, detached garages, and fences.
To determine how much coverage you need, estimate the cost to replace the structures on your property that are not attached to your home itself. It’s important to note that insurers typically limit this type of coverage to 10% of the dwelling limit. For example, with a dwelling limit of $100,000, a homeowner could get up to $10,000 of coverage for other structures.
Personal property coverage helps homeowners repair or replace personal belongings that are damaged or destroyed by a covered disaster. Personal belongings include anything stored in the home, from furniture and appliances to cookware and electronics. Some policies also cover belongings stored off site, such as in a storage unit.
Consider the total value of your items when choosing a personal property coverage limit. To determine the cost of replacing your personal property, create a home inventory. Make a detailed list of all the belongings in your home, along with the estimated value of each item. Keep receipts for your most valuable items to make it easier to submit a claim in the event of a covered loss.
The personal liability portion of a mobile home policy offers coverage if the homeowner is sued for causing bodily injury or property damage. It can help cover legal defense costs, as well as compensation for damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
Insurance companies commonly offer personal liability coverage limits between $100,000 and $500,000. The purpose of this coverage is to protect your assets. To choose a limit, consider the total value of your home, savings, and investments.
This type of coverage helps pay for visitors’ medical bills if they’re accidentally injured on your property, regardless of who’s at fault. For example, this coverage could apply if a friend trips on your porch steps and sprains their ankle. However, medical payments coverage does not include injuries to you or other people who regularly live in the home. Instead, if you or your housemate are hurt at home, your individual health insurance policies would provide coverage.
This coverage is designed to protect homeowners from small claims. Insurers typically set a relatively low limit for medical payments coverage, such as $1,000 to $5,000.
Loss of Use
Loss of use coverage is also known as additional living expenses coverage. It helps cover the extra costs associated with living somewhere else while your home is rebuilt or repaired after a covered peril has rendered it too dangerous to safely live in. For example, if your mobile home is destroyed in a fire, loss of use coverage in your homeowner’s insurance could help pay for a hotel room or rental home while your home remains uninhabitable.
Note that this coverage only applies to damages caused by a covered peril, and only if that peril makes your home too dangerous to live in while it is being repaired. For example, it would not extend to cases where your home renovation project went awry and damaged your home, or if a storm only damaged part of the house.
Home insurance policies typically cover loss of use at a percentage of the dwelling coverage limit, such as 20%. For instance, if your mobile home is insured for $100,000, the policy might provide $20,000 in additional living expenses coverage.
Optional Coverages or Endorsements
Insurance companies offer several types of optional add ons, also known as endorsements, for homeowners who want to further expand their mobile home policy coverage. Some of the most common endorsements are described below, but your insurer may offer additional options.
Scheduled Personal Property
Scheduled personal property is an endorsement that raises the coverage limits for certain valuable items, such as jewelry, artwork, firearms, or sports equipment. Standard policies offer coverage for these types of items but typically include sub-limits, such as $1,000 for jewelry.
Check the personal property limits in your mobile home policy. If you own any valuables that exceed those limits, consider scheduling the items for their actual value. Insurers may require a professional appraisal to verify the item’s value.
Trip collision coverage adds protection when the home is being transported, and functions similarly to the collision coverage in an auto insurance policy. If the home is damaged due to a collision with another object, this coverage helps pay for repairs.
Homeowners who are planning a move may want to consider this add-on. It’s designed to cover a single move, so once trip collision coverage is added to a mobile home policy, it typically only remains active for 30 days.
Water backup, also known as sewer backup insurance, is an optional endorsement that adds coverage for water damage caused by sewer backups. It helps cover the cost of repairing sewage-related damages inside the mobile home, as well as damage to the sewer line.
You may want to add this coverage if you’re concerned about the risk of sewer backups in your mobile home. Insurance companies typically offer it at between $50 and $250 per year.
Disaster Coverage, Like Flood and Earthquake
Standard mobile home policies exclude damages for certain natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes. In some hurricane-prone coastal areas, insurers may also exclude windstorm damages. However, these coverages may be available through optional policy add ons.
These optional coverages may be worth considering for you live in an area prone to natural disasters. If your mobile home insurer does not offer add-on disaster coverage, look into standalone disaster policies.
Landscaping coverage is an endorsement that adds coverage for yard damages or increases your mobile home policy’s standard coverage limits. This endorsement could help pay to remove and replace damaged trees, shrubs, plants, and lawns after a covered disaster.
Consider the potential costs of restoring your landscaping after a disaster. For homeowners who own trees and shrubs that could be costly to replace, adding a landscaping endorsement could make sense.
How Much Does a Mobile Home Insurance Policy Cost?
On average, mobile home insurance coverage costs somewhere between $300 and $1,300 a year, depending on the value of your home and possessions, your coverage limits, and where you live. Insurance premiums vary because some homes are riskier to insure than others. Before agreeing to sell a policy, insurers estimate the likelihood of a homeowner filing a claim and how much that claim might cost. Homes assessed as high risk cost more to insure.
Factors that can make a home seem riskier to insure are its overall value, crime statistics of the neighborhood, and how many perils are included and excluded.
How Is Your Premium Calculated?
Some of the key factors that determine the cost of a mobile home insurance premium include:
- Location: Mobile homes in areas that are prone to natural disasters, such as wildfires or hurricanes, may cost more to insure. Homes in areas with high rates of property crimes will also likely cost more to insure.
- Rebuild cost: Insurers estimate the cost of replacing the mobile home after a disaster. In general, the lower the rebuild cost, the lower the premium.
- Coverage choices: Selecting higher coverage limits, lower deductibles, or optional add ons typically increases the premium.
- Claims history: Insurers may assess homeowners with a history of frequent claims as high risk and charge higher premiums.
How to Find the Best Policy for Mobile Home Insurance
Many insurance companies offer manufactured or mobile home insurance coverage. To find a policy that suits your needs, carefully compare each option’s coverages and costs.
Consider the types of coverages you need or want for your mobile home. Check the standard and optional coverages for each policy you’re considering, and be sure to pay attention to coverage limits and exclusions.
Cost is another key consideration. Before buying a mobile home policy, consider comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies to find a premium that fits your budget. For help comparing mobile home policies, work with a trusted agent.