The relative affordability of mobile homes gives millions of householders a shot at homeownership they might not otherwise have. Unfortunately, most of the time mobile home ownership doesn’t come with the land (unless you buy that, too) or the appreciation in value of a traditional home. In fact, 2/3rds of mobile homes actually depreciate, like your car. Still, whether yours is a vintage house trailer, a single-wide mobile home or multi-module manufactured home, if it’s the roof over your family’s head, you need to make sure you have the correct mobile home insurance to protect you from lost.
Mobile homes experienced their first wave of popularity during the housing shortages that followed World War II. Back then, they were indeed quite mobile: you could hitch your trailer home to your car or truck and haul it from campground to trailer park. Ironically, 60% of mobile home owners who responded to the 2005 Census claimed that they’ve never moved their mobile homes from their original site. Today that same census reports that mobile homes are the housing choice for over 20 million Americans. Over half of them are located in rural parts of the country (mostly because urban land prices and tax-rates drove them out of the cities and suburbs).
Mobile homes face many of the same risks that traditional homes face, but often to a greater degree. For example, because of zoning restrictions, mobile homes are often located in flood plains and therefore more exposed to flood damage. Since moving today’s mobile homes isn’t a quick or simple matter, you need to be certain you have supplemental flood insurance for your mobile housing.
Mobile home owners also experience a significantly higher rate of death by fire, and the older the mobile home, the greater the risk. When shopping for mobile home insurance, pay attention to the fire coverage provided, especially the exclusions and limitations.
News footage from the aftermath of tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes often includes tragic scenes of devastated trailer parks. Indeed, older mobile homes are especially vulnerable to these types of natural disasters because many of the federal regulations requiring tie-backs and other devices to prevent damage only apply to mobile homes built after the regulations were enacted. If you aren’t mandated by law to install these protective devices, consider making the investment anyway. Your mobile home insurance provider may require it.
When looking for a mobile home insurance quote shop for a basic policy that includes:
- Fire loss and damage
- Storm damage (including hail)
- Personal property loss (that includes what’s inside your mobile home, although special riders may be required for expensive electronic equipment, collections, jewelry and other valuable items)
- Liability coverage (this protects you if someone is injured while visiting your mobile home)
Comprehensive mobile home insurance should also cover loss or damage from vandalism, landslides falling objects, explosions, burst pipes, collapse from weight of snow or ice, wild or stray animals, and attempted or actual burglary/robbery. Understand exactly what is and isn’t covered, as well as the settlement agreement before you need to file a claim. And, of course, review your policy on an annual basis and make any necessary adjustments.
Be sure your mobile home insurance policy also covers attachments/additions to your mobile home such as porches and awnings, and any outlying storage buildings, and provides for temporary housing and expenses