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How Are Older Mobile Homes Different From Newer Ones?


Do you own, rent or lease a mobile home that was manufactured before 1976? Well then, your options for insurance could be very different than if you owned a more modern mobile home. It can be especially difficult to find the right mobile home insurance, when you need insurance for older mobile homes. Older mobile homes built before 1976 are harder to insure because of the lack of manufacturing standards at the time. An insurance policy for an older mobile home includes all of the standard protections of a homeowners policy with added specialty coverage exclusively for mobile homes. 

Why are mobile homes from before 1976 different from those that came after?

Before you buy mobile home insurance, it’s important to understand how mobile homes and manufactured homes are viewed within the insurance industry. Mobile homes are commonly defined as properties built before 1976, and any properties designed after 1976 are considered manufactured homes! This is even if they are similar in design and size to older mobile home units. This is largely due to the fact that mobile homes were unregulated until 1976 when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created manufactured home building standards under the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (MHCSS).

After that, homes built in compliance with MHCSS were called manufactured homes. If you own an older mobile home, you will need mobile home insurance, not manufactured home insurance. Fortunately for you, there are a number of insurance companies that provide coverage for pre-1976 mobile homes. This is because older mobile homes need coverage similar to any home. Your policy should ideally include coverage for the home/dwelling itself, all your personal belongings, and any liability you could incur. 

How are older mobile homes different from newer ones? 

There are several key differences between older and newer mobile homes:

  • Building codes and regulations: Building codes and regulations have changed over time, so newer mobile homes are built to more stringent standards than older models.
  • Costs: Newer mobile homes tend to be more expensive than older models due to the higher-quality materials and construction, as well as the added amenities and design features. However, they may also have lower maintenance costs and utility bills due to their energy efficiency. 
  • Energy efficiency: Newer mobile homes are designed to be more energy-efficient than older models, with better insulation, windows, and heating and cooling systems.
  • Design features: Newer mobile homes often incorporate modern design features and amenities, such as open floor plans, upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, and built-in storage.
  • Building materials: Newer mobile homes are often constructed with more durable and higher-quality building materials than older models, such as steel frames, metal roofs, and vinyl siding.
  • Resale values: Newer mobile homes generally have a higher resale value than older models due to their improved features, construction quality, and energy efficiency.
  • Size: Newer mobile homes tend to be larger than older models, with more square footage and higher ceilings.

Let’s take a look at some coverage options for older mobile homes. 

Mobile home coverage is quite similar to other homeowners insurance policies and includes the usual basic coverages.

  • Dwelling coverage protects the mobile home itself and anything attached to it, like a deck. The recommended amount of coverage for an older mobile home insurance policy is around $30,000 for a single-unit mobile home or $45,000 for a double-wide mobile home.
  • Personal property coverage takes care of all of your personal property, from your electronics to your clothes. This is calculated as a percentage of the dwelling coverage, usually 50%.
  • Personal liability coverage kicks in when you are negligent or at fault for injuries to another person or damage to their property and the limits range from $100,000 up to $500,000 depending on your policy.
  • Additional living expenses (ALE) or loss-of-use come into effect if you cannot live in your home due to covered damages. Your additional living expenses, or loss-of-use coverage, will pay for living expenses like a hotel or a short term rental.
  • It is also advisable to get specialty coverage just for mobile homes, including trip collision coverage that protects you when the mobile home is being moved, and coverage that protects you from weather disasters.
  • Other types of coverages for older mobile homes include earthquake insurance, scheduled personal property insurance for those extra valuable possessions, and insurance that even protects you against identity theft.

Steps to follow to get insurance on an older mobile home:

Before you buy insurance for your mobile home, be prepared – do your research, know what coverage you need and then shop around for the best price! 

  • Determine how much your older mobile home is worth. 
  • Create a home inventory of your belongings to determine how much you need in personal property coverage.
  • Inquire about additional endorsements that you can add to your policy to provide the right amount of coverage for your older mobile home.
  • Check the deductible to see how much you will have to pay out of pocket when you file a claim.
  • Finally, make sure you receive and compare quotes from multiple companies. Compare both coverage and pricing to see which home insurance company offers the best deal for your older mobile home insurance policy.

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