If you own or are shopping for a mobile or manufactured home in Florida, you already know about the cost advantages of buying one. Unfortunately, these advantages don’t always extend to insurance coverage. Whether you’re new to the game or are shopping for a cheaper policy, here’s what you need to know about mobile and manufactured home insurance in Florida.
In this article:
Who insures mobile and manufactured homes in Florida?
A small group of companies insure the lion’s share of mobile and manufactured homes in Florida, either directly or in partnership with more familiar companies. For example, you can purchase mobile home insurance directly from Foremost, but Foremost also issues mobile home policies for other companies, including USAA.
Overall, Foremost in Florida’s third-largest mobile home insurance company, behind American Traditions and Citizens.
|Florida Farm Bureau||3%|
|*Based on policies in force, as of Sept. 30, 2021. Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.|
It’s important to remember that mobile homes and manufactured homes are not exactly the same thing. In general, a manufactured home is a mobile home built after 1976, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development established construction standards for them.
Some insurance companies won’t insure mobile homes built before 1976, and others only insure manufactured homes built more recently. Since newer manufactured homes tend to withstand extreme weather better than older models, they often qualify for better rates per amount of coverage.
If you're looking for insurance for an older mobile home in Florida, Citizens, Foremost and American Modern each promote their coverage for them.
What are Florida’s mobile home insurance requirements?
Florida state laws do not require you to purchase home insurance for a mobile or manufactured home, but if you finance the home, your lender will. Many mobile home communities often also require insurance, even if you own the home outright.
It’s important to know that mobile home insurance policies exclude flood damage. If your mobile home is in a federally designated high-risk flood zone, your lender will likely require you to obtain a separate flood insurance policy. It’s worth considering flood insurance if you don’t have a mortgage and/or you live outside of a high-risk flood zone.
In certain high-risk wind zones, mobile home insurance is offered with wind-damage exclusions. If you have such an exclusion and a mortgage, your lender will probably require you to purchase separate windstorm insurance, which is recommended if you have a wind exclusion without a mortage.
How does mobile home insurance in Florida work?
Most of the general principles of homeowners insurance apply to mobile and manufactured homes in Florida, but there are a few unique characteristics.
As is the case with most homeowners insurance, mobile home insurance usually provides coverage for:
- Your home, including the roof, windows and attached structures, such as a patio.
- Other structures, such as a shed, paved walkway or detached carport.
- Personal property, including your furniture, clothes and electronics.
- Loss of use, which can include rent for a temporary home.
- Personal liability, for injuries or damage you cause to others.
- Medical payments, to treat guests injured on your property, regardless of fault.
The coverages are often packaged together into an HO-7 policy, which is similar to homeowners insurance for a site-built home.
If your home does not qualify for an HO-7, you may be offered scaled-back coverage in the form of a dwelling policy. Dwelling policies usually offer less coverage or protect against fewer hazards than an HO-7, though package details vary by carrier.
What should I look for in my mobile home insurance quote?
As you review mobile home insurance quotes, look for policy choices such as replacement cost or open-peril coverage that can impact your rates.
When companies offer multiple policy tiers, the more expensive packages often include replacement-cost and/or open-peril coverage. The cheaper ones usually include actual cash value and/or named-peril coverage.
Replacement cost vs. actual cash value
A basic mobile home policy in Florida usually covers your home at its actual cash value, which is its value after depreciation. However, you can often upgrade to replacement cost coverage, which pays to replace your home with a new one of the same kind and quality.
Actual cash value coverage is cheaper than replacement cost coverage, but also pays less on claims.
For example, if you insure your $50,000 mobile home at its replacement cost value, the insurance company will pay you up to $50,000 to replace it if it is completely destroyed.
If you insure your mobile home at its actual cash value, the insurance company will cap the payment at the home’s depreciated value, which may only be $40,000. If you want to replace the home, the $10,000 difference comes out of your pocket.
Policies that cover your home on a replacement cost basis may cover your personal property at actual cash value unless you pay for a separate upgrade.
Open peril vs. named peril
As you shop, you’ll likely see some policies offering open-peril coverage and others with named-peril coverage.
Open-peril policies cover damage caused by any cause not specifically excluded in writing.
Named-peril policies only cover damage from perils listed in the policy. Fortunately, the list is long and includes most common causes of damage, including fire, theft, wind, vandalism and many others.
Named-peril policies tend to cost less than open-peril coverage.
It’s important to know that policies that cover your home on an open-peril basis often only cover your possessions for named perils unless you choose an upgrade.
In Florida’s riskiest wind zones, open- and named-peril policies may include wind damage exclusions. This is where standalone windstorm insurance can come in handy.
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