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Are manufactured homes safer these days?

No longer the little tin trailers you can hitch to your car and pull from place to place, manufactured homes are dramatically safer since Congress passed legislation authorizing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to regulate their design and construction. If a manufactured home has been built since June 15, 1976, it must meet the specifications of the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. These standards are designed to improve the overall quality of manufactured homes and to reduce personal injuries and property damages. They require, among other things, that the homes be built of fire-resistant materials and be capable of withstanding certain wind speeds.

Like any homeowners insurance, policies for manufactured homes address three areas of risk: damage to your home, damage to or theft of your personal property, and your legal liability for injuries to others or damage to their property. Unfortunately, though manufactured homes are much safer than they used to be, they're still less safe than conventional dwellings. This heightened risk is reflected in the cost of homeowners insurance for these homes.

Though manufactured homes are not more likely to catch fire than conventional dwellings, they often suffer more extensive damage when they do. In addition, because the walls in manufactured homes are often not as well insulated as those in conventional homes, water pipes may be more likely to freeze. Manufactured homes are also more vulnerable to storm damage, because they are lighter than site-built homes and more likely to tip over in high winds. For this reason, many states and insurance companies require manufactured homes to have a permanent foundation or to be secured with ground anchors to reduce the risk of damage during a tornado or other severe storm.

These factors, among others, make the homeowners premium for manufactured homes more expensive than for conventional homes. When purchasing your coverage, shop around and look for a reputable company that specializes in these policies.