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Understanding mobile home insurance and manufactured home insurance

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Mobile Home Insurance

Mobile homes have been growing in popularity over the years as an affordable housing option. The Census Bureau reports that shipments of new mobile or manufactured homes are up in the last five years 34%, with the average sales price at $81,600.

Getting the right mobile home insurance coverage at a cost you can afford is essential to protect your property. We'll provide an overview of the best mobile home insurance companies, how to get the coverage you need and tips on saving money on your premiums.

Is mobile home insurance the same as manufactured home insurance?

Knowing the difference between mobile homes, manufactured homes and modular homes can get confusing. Let's break it down. Will a manufactured home insurance policy apply to a mobile home? The answer is yes. A mobile home is the same thing as a manufactured home. The term "mobile home" was used before 1976 and was replaced that year with "manufactured home" by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Will mobile home insurance cover a modular home? The answer is no. A modular home is permanently affixed to a foundation, looks more like a traditionally-built home and must comply with local building codes. You'll need a standard home insurance policy to cover a modular home.

We'll be focusing on mobile/manufactured homes to help you find who has the best insurance for mobile homes.

Who has the best mobile home insurance?

There are mobile home insurance companies dedicated to bringing you home insurance for your unique housing choice. Assurance and Foremost specialize in manufactured home insurance.

Assurant mobile home insurance

Assurant has partnered with GEICO, Liberty Mutual and Progressive to provide manufactured home insurance to policyholders. Assurant offers online manufactured home quotes so you can buy mobile home insurance online.

Assurant aims to keep manufactured home insurance simple -- you'll get coverage for perils other mobile home insurance companies may not offer, such as earthquakes or floods. These coverages are usually optional with the few companies that provide them, but with Assurant, they're included in a standard mobile home policy.

Foremost mobile home insurance

Foremost claims it's the first insurance company to insure mobile homes. The company provides manufactured home insurance to AARP's huge network of 37 million members. A couple of unique offerings from Foremost include hobby farm or ranch liability and replacement cost coverage.

The replacement cost coverage endorsement may get you an extra 20% on your property damage settlement because Foremost won't deduct depreciation on your damaged property. You'll be able to replace the items with new ones of "comparable material and quality" without having to settle for less than you had before.

Other mobile home insurance companies

Besides Assurant and Foremost, there are other insurance companies that provide manufactured home insurance. You should get more than one mobile home insurance quote when you're in the market for coverage. The more quotes you get, the more likely you'll find the best price. Here are other mobile home insurance companies worth checking out:

  • Allstate: Offers many specialized coverages such as personal property endorsements for higher-value items, green improvements reimbursement and sports equipment. If you already have Allstate policies, you'll receive a multi-policy discount, as well as original owner, retired individual or security system discounts.
  • American Family: The insurer only underwrites manufactured homes in 19 states, but provides unique endorsements such as Matching Siding. The coverage costs as little as $25 per year, but will reimburse you for up to $20,000 to replace all siding, instead of a small area, so it all matches.
  • American Modern (AMIG): American Modern insures mobile homes of any age. A standard policy covers damage from burst pipes, fire, hail, wind and more. If you plan on renting your mobile home, AMIG also provides rental coverage.
  • Farmers: Farmers structures its mobile home policies to give you options on how you'll get paid in case of property losses or damages. With agreed loss settlement, you'll receive the full amount of insurance as a lump sum to rebuild or order a new home faster. Add optional replacement cost coverage, and you'll get the cost of replacing items with new ones, instead of receiving the item's depreciated value.
  • Geico mobile home insurance: If you're accustomed to handling your insurance needs online, Geico may be a good option for you. You'll have access to all the standard offerings most manufactured home insurers provide. You can get quotes, pay bills, file claims and buy mobile home insurance online through Geico's website or mobile app.
  • MetLife: MetLife is best for customers who don't find the lack of online access to manage their policy a deal-breaker. You'll need to call MetLife for quotes, filing claims, or if you have questions. The insurer's guaranteed replacement cost coverage ensures you won't get shorted on the cost of purchasing new versions of the property or items damaged.
  • Progressive mobile home insurance: Progressive is best known for auto and home insurance but also provides manufactured home insurance. The policies may not be as extensive or customizable as other manufactured home policy specialists, but if you need standard coverage to bundle with other types of insurance, you could save some money.
  • State Farm: State Farm has a variety of endorsements and coverages so you can customize your policy. The most unique may be earthquake and volcanic explosion coverage. You can save on your policy by taking advantage of manufactured home model year discounts or bundling your manufactured home insurance with State Farm auto, home, motor home and off-road vehicle insurance.
  • USAA: Members of the military and their families can find affordable manufactured home insurance through USAA. USAA isn't the direct insurer -- like many insurance providers, USAA works with third-party insurance companies to underwrite policies for their members.

What does mobile home insurance cover?

Mobile home insurance companies don't have a standardized set of coverages. One insurer may include earthquake or fire coverage as standard, while others may not. Nevertheless, there are three basic manufactured home insurance coverages:

  • Dwelling: Covers the physical structure, such as the roof, attached deck, or walls. If your manufacturer home's structure is damaged by a covered peril such as wind or (in most policies) fire, dwelling coverage will pay for the repair or replacement.
  • Personal property: Covers your personal belongings if they're stolen or damaged. A couple of examples could be losing your electronics because of a burglary. Or your belongings being damaged from a roof leak. You may be reimbursed for the cost of the item minus its depreciated value if it's older, unless you added replacement value to your policy to receive the cost of a similar new version.
  • Liability protection: Covers injuries that happen on your property. If a neighbor comes for a visit and slips and falls on your deck, liability protection will pay for your legal defense and any damages, including medical bills for injured individuals.

Other manufactured home insurance endorsements

There are other optional endorsements you can add to increase your home's protection level. Some of the most common are:

  • Other structures: If you have a non-attached garage or tool shed on your property, you can add protection for the structures.
  • Additional living expenses: If your manufactured home is uninhabitable, the coverage pays for your living expenses at a hotel or rental while your home is replaced or repaired.
  • Earthquake, volcano or flood coverage: If you live in high-risk zones, you can add an endorsement to cover damages from perils not typically included in a standard policy.
  • Water backup: Covers water damage caused by a broken sump pump or backed-up drain.
  • Scheduled personal property: Provides additional coverage for expensive items such as appraised jewelry, collectibles or antiques.

How to buy mobile home insurance

Before you settle on one insurance policy, get quotes from several mobile home insurance companies to find the best price. You may discover that two insurers offer nearly the same coverage for noticeably different prices. Here's how to buy manufactured home insurance:

  • Determine the cost of replacing your manufactured home
  • Make a list of all your valuables and approximate costs
  • Call or get online mobile home insurance quotes from several companies using the figures you calculated
  • Review the quotes carefully to know what coverages your policy comes with
  • Determine if you need additional coverages for high-value items or non-attached structures on the property
  • Decide on a deductible (the amount you'd have to pay out of pocket before the insurance companies pay for the damages). The higher your deductible, the lower the cost of your policy.
  • Take advantage of any discounts such as multiple policies, autopay or having an installed home security system
  • Once you're insured, document your property and belongings by making a video and/or taking photos. Write down serial numbers, save copies of receipts and save them in a safe place. In case of property damage or theft, the information will help you settle your claim faster.

Can I buy mobile home insurance online?

Not all mobile home insurance companies provide online services. Some insurers allow you to get quotes and buy mobile home insurance online. They are:

How much mobile home insurance do I need?

Having the right amount of coverage is critical. If your home is lost in a fire, being underinsured could make it difficult to afford the replacement of your home. To decide on how much insurance your need, take the following into account:

  • The replacement cost of your manufactured home if you had to buy a new one
  • The cost of the improvements you've made, such as granite countertops, upgraded kitchen cabinets, or stainless-steel kitchen appliances
  • The value of your home's furniture and electronics, such as televisions and computers

Keep in mind that standard manufactured home policies will pay you the depreciated cost of the items. This means that if your four-year-old Macbook was damaged, for example, you won't get $1,300 (the price of a new one). The insurer will give you an amount adjusted for the laptop's age and value to buy a comparable four-year-old Macbook model.

If you'd like to avoid the hassle of having to find second-hand versions of everything you've lost, consider upgrading to a replacement-cost endorsement on your policy that will reimburse you for the price of new and similar items.

What factors affect my rates?

Several factors that may affect the cost of your manufactured home insurance policy. Some are out of your control while others can be adjusted. They include:

  • Age and condition of your home
  • Your location -- some areas are more prone to theft, fires, flooding or wind damage than other areas
  • Your coverage limits
  • The amount of your deductible -- higher deductibles may mean a higher upfront cost in case of a loss but are likely to reduce your premium
  • Whether you qualify for discounts such as multiple policies, military service or having a home security system
  • Your claims history

How much does mobile home insurance cost?

The cost of manufactured home insurance can vary widely by area. Florida may be the most expensive state due to its extreme weather. The average annual cost of a manufactured home policy in Florida ranges between $860 and $2,400, depending on the county, with most counties averaging $1,000. As for other parts of the country, Trusted Choice, an online platform of independent insurance agents, estimates that mobile home policies vary between $300 and $1,000 per year.