What Are Mobile, Manufactured or Modular Homes?
For most purposes, the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” are interchangeable. A manufactured home is essentially the modern term used for mobile homes. The terminology changed when new HUD building code standards for mobile homes went into effect in the 1970s. A manufactured home is the same type of structure but with HUD-regulated design and safety features. A manufactured home is a single-family dwelling that is factory built and then transported to the residence location.
Depending on the insurance company, a “modular” home can be classified as a form of manufactured home or as a site-built home. A modular home is assembled in sections in a factory setting, then constructed on a foundation like a traditional site-built home.
Why Are Manufactured or Modular Homes Classified Differently?
Site-built homes generally tend to increase in value over the life of a 15- or 30-year mortgage. Manufactured or modular homes, however, generally decline in value over time, which makes them more like vehicles in the eyes of insurance companies. This major difference in the value of the home affects the cost of mobile or manufactured home insurance.
What Are the Risks with Manufactured Homes?
Besides the differences in valuation over time, mobile and manufactured homes also have different levels of risk than site-built homes. For example, mobile and manufactured homes tend to have a greater risk for theft.
There is also increased risk for damage due to weather, as manufactured structures are typically not built onto a foundation (modular homes are an exception). Additionally, the building materials tend to be lighter weight than site-built homes and they are statistically riskier for fire damage.
Because manufactured homes are built in a factory and then transported, they can have structural integrity issues. A 2007 American Housing survey of 6.9 million manufactured homes reported that over 300,000 of these homes had sagging roofs, 180,000 had sloping outside walls, and 98,000 had foundations with visible cracks or crumbling.
In addition to these risks, according to the Centers for Disease Control, mobile and manufactured homes can experience increased health and safety risks.
Your mobile, manufactured, or modular home is likely perfectly safe – but your insurance company carefully measures the risks you face in your home when they issue you a policy. You can speak to an independent agent to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your home safe and reduce your risks, which can potentially earn you discounts on your coverage.