Getting Insurance for Older Mobile Homes

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Older mobile homes can be unique, endearing finds and are often very affordable. If you don’t pay all cash for an old mobile home, you should be prepared for difficulties in getting financing and old mobile home insurance.

Older mobile homes are much more likely to have problems that raise red flags for insurance providers. Keep reading to learn some tips for insurance on older mobile homes and if you’ll be able to find any insurance companies that insure older mobile homes.

Why Insurance for Older Mobile Homes Is Tricky

The difficulty of getting insurance for older mobile homes varies by state and company. Still, if your mobile home was built before 1976, you may have particular trouble no matter what, as mobile home home insurance costs vary based on its age.  Otherwise, many mobile homes over a decade or two old can have features that discourage insurers.

Mobile and manufactured homes require different insurance policies than traditional houses. Mobile home insurance is formally known as the HO7 form, while standard home insurance uses the HO3 form. 

In 1976, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development officially replaced the term “mobile home” when the government passed a national building code for all factory-built houses. The new dwellings that followed the federal regulations were called “manufactured homes.” However, the two terms are often still used interchangeably today in conversation.

Most major insurance carriers offer mobile home/manufactured home insurance in addition to standard home insurance. Just like policies with traditionally built homes, insurers can have writing restrictions for mobile homes based on the construction or features of the trailer. And, just as with traditional houses, the older the mobile home, the more likely an issue is present that prevents a carrier from offering coverage.

Some common issues that make getting insurance for older mobile homes difficult are:

1. Federal and State Regulations

Getting an insurance policy on a mobile home built before 1976 will be very difficult. Construction standards and safety regulations are critical to insurance companies. Since mobile homes built before 1976 didn’t have to comply with any nationally regulated standards, they pose an inherent structural risk.

Every manufactured home has a HUD certification tag and data plate today. These indicate the house was inspected and meets the requirements of the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. They also list the dwelling’s factory-installed equipment, roof load zone, wind load zone, and compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Mobile homes built before June 15, 1976, don’t meet HUD standards and can’t be issued certification labels even if you make structural modifications yourself that enhance safety and stability. This means insurance companies can’t verify much about your mobile home beyond what you tell them. Carriers don’t want to take such a risk.

Even if your manufactured home was built after 1976, it often needs to comply with later federal regulations as well as other local and state safety regulations that can vary by location before an insurance company will cover it.

For instance, Florida passed an updated standard for mobile and manufactured home installations regarding tie-downs in 1999. Florida law prohibits the sale of windstorm insurance on manufactured homes not anchored per the law.

Additionally, HUD has strengthened and changed its requirements over the years, and insurance companies will always be aware of its guidelines. You’ll need an inspection before financing or insurance, which will reveal your mobile home’s compliance if you don’t already know it.

2. Electrical Wiring

Older mobile homes are more likely to have faulty or outdated electrical wiring. Such wiring is much more prone to electrical fires. As you can imagine, mobile home insurance companies don’t like this.

Even if your manufactured home was built after 1976, it could have electrical components that are inherently dangerous and uninsurable. For example, Federal Pacific electrical panels were used in construction through the 1980s. Since then, people have discovered that they pose a substantial fire hazard and these boxes are no longer allowed. 

Additionally, any aluminum wiring or knob and tube wiring could prevent you from getting older mobile home insurance. You’ll have trouble getting coverage if your mobile home has any such components.

3. Plumbing and Pipes

Polybutylene pipes were used in mobile home construction from the 1970s to the 1990s. They are much more prone to leaks, and insurance companies may not insure a mobile home with polybutylene piping due to the potential for extensive water damage.

PB pipes in a mobile or manufactured home are often gray, and you may find them around the water heaters, sinks, toilets, and shut-off valves. The only remedy for a mobile home with PB pipes is to replace them all, which can cost several thousand dollars.

4. Mold, Fire, and Other Hazards

Older mobile homes are much more prone to health and safety hazards all around. The outdated construction and potential lack of upkeep from previous owners can manifest themselves in several problematic ways.

Older mobile homes are much less energy efficient than newer ones, with little insulation and inefficient heating options. This can spell trouble for a resident during the colder and warmer seasons, but it’s also a red flag to insurers. Lack of insulation means fires can spread more easily and mold can be more of a problem. During the winter, pipes may also have a better chance of freezing over, causing damage that can generate an insurance claim.

If you’ve ever tried to renovate an old mobile home, you’ll know that you can find all sorts of unexpected issues. Sagging floors, rotten particle board subfloors, outdated siding, damaged skirting, and much more can plague an older mobile home. Extensive repairs to bring an old mobile home up to code via a licensed contractor can be very costly. 

Many new owners try to do repairs themselves and make a large DIY project out of restoring their dwelling. While you can certainly make your mobile home clean and livable yourself, you can’t make it insurable. Providers typically won’t cover a mobile home with many DIY additions, repairs, or installations if they’re not up to code.

Insurance Companies That Insure Older Mobile Homes

Most major insurance carriers offer mobile home insurance. Additionally, some smaller companies specialize in insuring mobile homes. You’ll need an inspection to verify if a company will insure your older mobile home.

Well-known providers like Progressive, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and more offer mobile home insurance. Some companies that may not be as well-known but have viable mobile home insurance include Foremost and Assurant.

Whether one of these companies will insure your older mobile home depends on your location and the condition of your mobile home. If the information you provide to your insurer when getting a quote isn’t sufficient, they may want an inspection.

Standard 4-point inspections involve a licensed inspector looking at your mobile home’s roof, electrical system, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. If things aren’t up to code, the insurance company likely won’t insure you unless you make changes with licensed contractors.

If you do qualify for older mobile home insurance, you may have much higher rates, higher deductibles, or limited coverage. For instance, some companies may not offer replacement cost coverage on older mobile homes, only actual cash value coverage. You may also not be covered for water damage or hurricane damage.

It’s Time to Switch Your Homeowners Insurance

We partner with the nation’s top homeowners insurance companies so you can get a custom policy at an affordable price.

Tips on How to Get Insurance on an Old Mobile Home

Getting insurance on an older mobile home can be tricky and costly. There aren’t many shortcuts you can take to secure coverage since insurers analyze many variables before offering a policy to determine proper rates and risks.

Nevertheless, here are some tips that may help on how to get insurance on an old mobile home.

Get an inspection before you buy. Even if you’re paying cash for an old mobile home, it’s wise to get an inspection done, especially if you don’t know how many residents or tenants came before you. An old mobile home can have many problems you can’t see on the surface, and an inspection will verify the quality of your mobile home. They’ll notify you if the dwelling is up to the latest codes and if you need to make any significant repairs or renovations.

You’ll need an inspection if you plan on financing an old mobile home. A mortgage lender would also require insurance. If your mobile home doesn’t pass an inspection, you might not be able to get either financing or coverage.

Mobile home insurance can be especially worth it if you’re in a hazard-prone area like the Southeast or Midwest, where hurricanes and tornadoes can threaten you seasonally. 

Suppose you’re living in your place and want to get older mobile home insurance before the next hurricane season. You might get denied if the insurer finds an undetected problem during an inspection that you could have remedied earlier.

Determine if bringing your older mobile home up-to-code is worth it. Retrofitting and renovating an older mobile home can be costly, depending on the extent of repairs needed. After an inspection, an insurer can get back to you with what features your home needs to change before giving you coverage.

If the cost of these changes is reasonable, you may want to move forward with them to get a policy. It depends on your financial situation, the repairs needed, and the possibility of damage. If a major storm comes and destroys your mobile home, you’ll end up paying for new stuff, anyways. It might be worth bringing your place up to code beforehand to protect it from worse damage in the future.

Can a Mobile Home Be Too Old to Get Homeowners Insurance?

Yes, a mobile home built before 1976 is likely too old to get homeowners insurance, no matter where you are in the country. Depending on your location, some states and carriers may be even more stringent. 

Insurance companies may require more inspections and have stricter age limit requirements on mobile homes in states where the threat of hurricane or tornado damage is high, like Florida, South Carolina, or Texas. In these states, some mobile or manufactured homes just two or three decades old may not be eligible for coverage.

It depends on the results of an inspection and the insurance company’s writing guidelines. If you need help finding mobile home insurance coverage, you may want to turn to an independent agent for help.

Independent agents work with several insurers to find the best policy for you. Clovered partners with some of the country’s top mobile home insurance companies. We’d love to help you find coverage. You can call one of our licensed team members at 833-255-4117 during business hours. 

You can also use our online quoting tool. However, if your mobile home is especially old, you may be directed to one of our agents, who will be happy to help you. We’ve helped thousands find coverage, and we can help you understand your options for insurance on older mobile homes.

It's Time to Switch Your Homeowners Insurance

We partner with the nation's top homeowners insurance companies so you can get a custom policy at an affordable price.

The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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