Mobile homes can be excellent values for couples just starting out, empty-nesters looking to downsize, or anyone in the middle. If you live in a mobile home park, there is minimal yard work and the homeowners association takes care of most maintenance. If you place your home on a lot, a big advantage is that it is ready to live in almost immediately. Whichever way you plan to enjoy your mobile home, you should understand the differences in insuring it versus an “on-site” home.

According to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) building code standards, a manufactured home is the same type of structure as a mobile home but with HUD-regulated design and safety features. For the most part, the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” are interchangeable. A manufactured home is essentially the modern term used for mobile homes. Depending on the insurance company, a “modular” home can either be classified as a manufactured home or as a site-built home.

Insurance-wise, the big differences between the two residences us that site-built homes generally tend to increase in value, whereas mobile homes generally decline in value over time. Also, mobile homes are categorized differently because they are not built onto a foundation. Other factors considered by insurers include a greater risk for theft and damage due to weather. In addition, the building materials tend to be lighter weight than site-built homes and they are statistically riskier for fire damage.

Like any home, you should have at least basic insurance for your mobile home: Property damage coverage so you will be covered in case of a natural disaster or fire; Liability insurance in case someone is injured on your property; and Contents coverage for replacing any personal property damaged within your home.

With any kind of insurance, it is always best to understand your coverages. There is nothing worse that filing a claim only to have it denied because of a policy misunderstanding. You need to go to your expert – your insurance professional. They will go through your current policies with you and explain what types of coverage you may now need with any change in your situation.