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A Complete Guide to Mobile Home Insurance

on 11 Jun, 2019

The trend today among millennials and first-time buyers is gravitating towards smaller dwellings. Millennials want to reduce spending on homes and instead channel the money to areas that matter like traveling, families, education, hobbies, etc.

And while mobile homes aren’t ideal for everyone, they are certainly a wise investment for millennials and first time home buyers. The only downside to owning a mobile home is the hefty mobile home insurance.

What Is Mobile Home Insurance?

It’s a policy that covers any factory-built home. Mobile homes are constructed in factories then transported to the construction site. This makes mobile homes more affordable than traditional homes, but their insurance premiums do not come cheap.

The high insurance premiums are attributed to certain high-risk factors. One of these factors is the lack of a permanent foundation. Also, mobile homes lack a permanent ground anchor, which makes them susceptible to wind damage, floods, etc.

Insurance policies for mobile homes will differ depending on the insurance company, many of which will not offer insurance for older mobile homes. Preferably, look for a local/regional insurer as they will have a better knowledge of materials used in the area. This is because older homes were built using certain types of wood that insurers might term high risk, especially to fire.

Mobile Home Insurance vs. Standard Homeowner’s Policies

In many aspects, mobile home insurance is similar to a standard homeowner’s policy. Both policies have liability and physical damage coverage. Both have a deductible, offer some degree of personal property, physical and liability coverage.

The main difference lies in the specialized features, rating information, and optional coverage.
For mobile home insurance, insurers have to account for potential relocation. However, when it comes to standard homes, moving houses isn’t feasible.

This means that insurers have to come up with special coverage for mobile home owners.

Another difference is that some insurers prefer to insure mobile homes based on stated value rather than actual cash value. They also get flexible payment options, such as paying quarterly or every six months. However, the downside is that there are no grace periods in mobile home insurance.

Homeowner’s policy allows payment a few days past the due date before cancellation. This, however, does not apply to mobile home insurance. The policy is typically canceled on the bill date if no payments are made.

Finally, the rating process is different for both policies. Insurers find it easier to rate a 100-year old house than a 40-year old mobile home. The rating criteria for mobile homes is unlike the questions asked are different.

You will also find that most insurers have an age restriction. Older mobile homes have a high-risk factor and will be declined.

Rating Information

Getting a quote for your mobile home will take longer due to all the additional information required. The insurer will be more meticulous and will ensure that all your details are in line with their requirements before they can insure your home.

Also, you will have to provide all the relevant property data. This is because property data for mobile homes are not readily available. Some of the rating information required includes the following.

Ownership Status

Do you live in your mobile home full time, or is it a seasonal home? Do you own the house, or is it a lease from someone else? Do you lease your property to others?

Some few questions will help agent verify your ownership status. Also, be sure to carry all relevant documents, whether it is ownership or lease. Most agents will have no problem with your occupational status.

However, make sure they understand your situation so that you’re offered the best rates.

Tie-Down

One of the biggest risk factors of having a mobile home is that it doesn’t have a tie –down. Insurers will want to know whether your home has a permanent ground anchor or not. Agents typically use the status of your home’s foundation to rate your mobile home.

If you don’t know, the agent can come to your home or send an inspector to check it out.

Dimensions

Information regarding dimensions of a property can be found on the property database. If not, the agent will require you to provide these details. The coverage amount will depend on the size of your mobile home.

Therefore, if the agent uses incorrect dimensions, your coverage will be either too little or too much.

Serial Number

You can find the serial number of your home on its paperwork. It’s typically not required, but it’s always good to have just in case it is needed. The insurer reserves the right to ask you for it.

Safety Features

Insurers prefer home who are cautious and prioritize safety. You’ll find agents asking all manner of question regarding your home’s safety features. They will ask questions like; do you have smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher?

Are your doors equipped with protection locks? Have you contracted the services of an alarm company? Although these features are costly, they also save you in the long run. Having all these features will significantly reduce your mobile home insurance cost.

Interior Information

Traditional homes typically have the same interior finishes. It’s either plaster walls or sheetrock. Alternatively, mobile homes have a wide range of possible interior finishes. These include pre-fabricated walls, plaster walls, sheetrock, etc.

The agent will want to know more about your interior finishes, type of floors, and walls.

Year Built & Purchase Date

You will be required to provide details about the purchase and year of manufacture. This information will be relevant in determining the current value of your home. The agent will also want to know the year you moved in.

The age of your home will determine whether you fall above or below the age restrictions. Some insurers will decline if a home that exceeds their age restrictions.

Other Structures

The agent will want to know if you have any additional structures on your property. It’s not uncommon to find detached garages, carports or other outbuildings on the mobile home property. Due to this, insurers offer coverage options for any other structures aside for your mobile home.

You will be required to provide dimensions for all these structures so that they can be added to your policy.

What Does Mobile Home Insurance Cover?

If you already have homeowners insurance or auto insurance, check with the insurance provider to see whether they offer mobile home insurance. If they do, check if they have discounts and confirm if you’re eligible. Now that you have an insurer, what mobile coverage should you choose?

There are two basic coverage options- personal liability coverage and physical damage coverage. These options cover mobile homes located on private property or in a park, rental mobile homes, seasonal mobile homes, and commercial mobile homes.

Typically, the two primary options do not cover mobile homes while in transit. For in transit coverage, you can either get an endorsement or temporary coverage. This will include any physical damage to your mobile home while in transit.

Below are some coverage options that you can consider for your mobile home.

Personal Liability Coverage

It covers any lawsuits or claims against you related to injuries resulting from negligence. If a visitor is injured while on your property as a result of your negligence, it’s covered by personal liability coverage. It also covers situations where you damage your neighbor’s property.

Possible claims include lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, pain, and suffering.

Liability coverage does not cover injuries to you or members of your household.

Physical Damage Coverage

It covers any physical damage to your home, structures attached to your mobile home, and any belongings inside the mobile home. Physical damage could be as a result of vandalism, falling objects, wind, fire, and hail. The mobile home insurance rate for physical damage coverage will depend on the insurance policy.

The same case applies to the degree and amount of coverage. As you might have noticed damage as a result of floods is not covered by this coverage. You will have to purchase separate flood insurance.

Specialized Coverage Options

Liability and physical damage protection are quite basic. You will need add-on coverage options to cover perils not highlighted in the policy. These add-on coverage options include:

Builder’ Risk

If you were involved in building your home, you are probably familiar with this add-on coverage. This option is usually available after you’ve purchased your mobile home and are about to transport it.

Breakdown

Most standard home insurance policies do not cover breakdown or wear and tear of fixtures, covered dwellings, and appliances. Some insurers will offer this option as an optional endorsement.

It doesn’t cover everything in your mobile home, so be sure to review the coverage. If it doesn’t cover everything in your home, you can always buy a home warranty.

Enhanced coverage

If the coverage being provided is not enough to cover your needs, you have the option to buy enhanced coverage at an extra fee.

How to Get Mobile Home Insurance

Mobile homes have become a rising trend. Ensure your home is protected by getting mobile home insurance. Review the terms, read the fine print, and consult your insurance broker or insurer in case you do not understand the details.

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