I Own or Rent A Mobile or Manufactured Home

Your Choices

There are a number of choices available for protecting your type of home. A few years ago, you might have been limited to getting very basic coverage or hunting down a company that specialized in coverage for mobile or manufactured homes. Today, many companies, including specialists, provide these policies. Regardless of the type of home you own or live in, it is important that you learn about the coverage options that are available. You may find that different policies vary considerably in coverage and price.

A fairly recent development in covering mobile/manufactured homes is to insure them by modifying a conventional homeowner policy with mobile home provisions called endorsements. The endorsements change key definitions and provisions of a conventional policy to fit a mobile or manufactured home situation. Such modified homeowner policies are packages that protect the home, outbuildings (unattached garages, sheds, etc.) and personal property. They also provide insurance for personal liability.

Like any homeowner, you probably want a policy offering the broadest protection available. Coverage is generally offered using two approaches. Some policies include a laundry list of items (or perils) that may cause a loss. Other policies state that they will protect your home against everything EXCEPT for a host of specified perils. Either approach includes liability coverage which protects you for injuries or losses to others which you accidentally cause.

If you are a renter, your coverage options are unaffected by the type of home construction. Your primary coverage need is to protect your personal property. A common form called a HO 04 Tenants policy (or similar forms) provides both property and liability coverage. Your Particular Property Insurance Needs

Any coverage option you choose is likely to reflect the fact that mobile homes are,well, mobile. Mobile home coverage is affected by the fact that mobile homes:

  • are able to move under their own power;
  • are more susceptible to wind damage,
  • tend to lose value with age.

The mobility of such homes creates a special need to protect the financial interest of the business which lent the money to purchase the home. For example, a mobile home owner decides to drive his home to Arkansas. The soon-to-be Arkansas resident "forgets" to mention his plan (and his new address) to Ohio Mortgage Company. The Ohio lender would be out of luck if the policy didn't include protection for this whimsical act. Another way in which a mobile or manufactured homeowner policy differs from conventional homeowner coverage involves coverage for unattached buildings. This coverage is usually minimal for, say, $2,000. Such a provision helps keep the premiums for policies lower by avoiding paying claims on very low value structures. The coverage is likely to be offered on an actual cash value basis. Unfortunately, mobile and manufactured homes tend to lose value over time.

The policy is likely to include a provision which requires you to get permission to move your home. Once granted, you're likely to get thirty days of special transportation coverages for collision, sinking, upset or stranding ( a special, higher deductible may apply during the move). Another common coverage feature is coverage for your attempt to move the home in order to prevent damage from an insured cause of loss. For example, you move your mobile home fifty feet to get away from a neighboring trailer that is on fire. IMPORTANT: coverage for moving endangered property usually has a modest limit (several hundred dollars is typical) because of owners who may be too heroic or clumsy for anyone's good. Your Particular Liability Insurance Needs

The liability protection connected with mobile or manufactured homes is, for all practical purposes, identical to the liability provided to conventional home owners. Why? The likelihood of guests to be hurt at your home, or your probability of being sued, tends to be the same. The important thing to remember is that your agent is a tremendous source for getting the information you need to be sure that your home and property are adequately protected at a reasonable price.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 1996

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