Home insurance-why can't I have a 'stick built home" to replace a manufactured home?

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Oct 30, 2015
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North Laurasia
#1
I live in a manufactured home. I own the land it's on. It's paid off.
Realistically, it would have been called a 'double wide' but it's really not a trailer. It has cathedral ceilings, skylights, french doors, etc. So it's not what you think when you hear 'mobile home'. It's not the cracker box style of trailer that used to be everywhere.

I bought it because it was what I could afford at the time. It was, at the time, probably the high end of manufactured homes. It certainly cost more than the average one. It was built after the government forced the builders to build to a higher code/standard than they used to.

If i'd been able to afford a stick built home, I would have. I dislike manufactured homes because the companies that build them use proprietary parts. You can't just go into Home Depot and buy a sliding glass door screen off the shelf. Nope, because 'normal' sliding glass doors screens are (the exact dimensions escape me at the moment), for instance, 83" high.
Manufactured home sliding glass door frames are (I know this from experience) 79 1/3" high. This is typical. Everything in a manufactured home is just a bit different in dimensions because..well, then you are forced to buy new stuff from the company that built it. But..........manufactured home builders are as ephemeral as snow in July. They routinely go out of business after about ten years. Just the time when your warranty goes out. So you are stuck...you can't buy parts for the home because the company that built it no longer carries that model, or is no longer in business, etc.

It's not easy to find an insurance company that will cover manufactured homes. I think there are only two in the country. Mine is Formost.

I don't know if this is because of the stigma attached to what used to be called "mobile homes' or trailers. True, my house got here on wheels. But it was built indoors in a factory, set on a concrete foundation to higher-than-code (meaning it is tied down using 'earthquake' or 'hurricane straps". It will never be moved again. My county tax assessor retired it as a 'mobile' home years ago and it's now taxed as a stick built home. (but if I try to sell it as a stick built home, that would be considered fraud. So I'm stuck...)

I've never made a claim on my policy, and have made many improvements (siding, heat pump), etc. But it's still a manufactured home. If the worse happens and I lose it, I would of course make a claim.
When I talk to my insurance company about it, I tell them I want a stick built home instead of replacing the manufactured home with another manufactured home.
I never get a straight answer.
I get this 'look' from the agent and a 'ah, well it depends' or " we'll cross that bridge when we come to it' or 'it's a case by case basis'.

Repairs are, believe it or not, not covered. Well, wait. My most recent policy reads that they will not cover damages to the home caused by """wind, rain, snow, ice, heat, cold, flood, fire, " and some other stuff. Basically, they won't cover anything caused by nature.

I want a stick built home to replace my manufactured one, should it be destroyed. Why can't I get a straight answer from the insurance company?
 
Jul 27, 2016
846
1,041
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#2
I live in a manufactured home. I own the land it's on. It's paid off.
Realistically, it would have been called a 'double wide' but it's really not a trailer. It has cathedral ceilings, skylights, french doors, etc. So it's not what you think when you hear 'mobile home'. It's not the cracker box style of trailer that used to be everywhere.

I bought it because it was what I could afford at the time. It was, at the time, probably the high end of manufactured homes. It certainly cost more than the average one. It was built after the government forced the builders to build to a higher code/standard than they used to.

If i'd been able to afford a stick built home, I would have. I dislike manufactured homes because the companies that build them use proprietary parts. You can't just go into Home Depot and buy a sliding glass door screen off the shelf. Nope, because 'normal' sliding glass doors screens are (the exact dimensions escape me at the moment), for instance, 83" high.
Manufactured home sliding glass door frames are (I know this from experience) 79 1/3" high. This is typical. Everything in a manufactured home is just a bit different in dimensions because..well, then you are forced to buy new stuff from the company that built it. But..........manufactured home builders are as ephemeral as snow in July. They routinely go out of business after about ten years. Just the time when your warranty goes out. So you are stuck...you can't buy parts for the home because the company that built it no longer carries that model, or is no longer in business, etc.

It's not easy to find an insurance company that will cover manufactured homes. I think there are only two in the country. Mine is Formost.

I don't know if this is because of the stigma attached to what used to be called "mobile homes' or trailers. True, my house got here on wheels. But it was built indoors in a factory, set on a concrete foundation to higher-than-code (meaning it is tied down using 'earthquake' or 'hurricane straps". It will never be moved again. My county tax assessor retired it as a 'mobile' home years ago and it's now taxed as a stick built home. (but if I try to sell it as a stick built home, that would be considered fraud. So I'm stuck...)

I've never made a claim on my policy, and have made many improvements (siding, heat pump), etc. But it's still a manufactured home. If the worse happens and I lose it, I would of course make a claim.
When I talk to my insurance company about it, I tell them I want a stick built home instead of replacing the manufactured home with another manufactured home.
I never get a straight answer.
I get this 'look' from the agent and a 'ah, well it depends' or " we'll cross that bridge when we come to it' or 'it's a case by case basis'.

Repairs are, believe it or not, not covered. Well, wait. My most recent policy reads that they will not cover damages to the home caused by """wind, rain, snow, ice, heat, cold, flood, fire, " and some other stuff. Basically, they won't cover anything caused by nature.

I want a stick built home to replace my manufactured one, should it be destroyed. Why can't I get a straight answer from the insurance company?
If your home is damaged for a covered reason, then the insurance company will presumably write you a check. If you choose to spend that check on having the manufactured home removed, and a regular building (I assume that's what you mean by a stick built home) constructed instead, I don't see why the insurer would have any grounds to object. They presumably wouldn't cover your new home (but you'd have lots of insurance options to choose from), and there's no reason why they would pay out more than the cost to repair the damage on your existing home, but other than that, you should be fine.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jan 30, 2018
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#3
So, are you asking hypothetically, if your home is destroyed, you want the insurance company to pay you what it would cost to construct a traditional house?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Insurance policies are sort of out of our expertise, as they are regulated differently on the state level.

You need to discuss what the policy covers in case of a total loss and what payouts are there to either rebuild or walk away. If a dwelling is not a total loss then is it the cost of repairs?

It is hard to give a pre-insurance claim analysis, given that there are so many variables -- what is the area zoned for? Is it possible to sink a foundation for a site built house on the land? What are the municipalities requirements for a sewer and water hook up?

Ask to meet with the insurance agent to understand the policy. Talk to other independent insurance brokers to find out what sort of policies are available so as to compare and contrast.
 
Likes: SierraRose49

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,994
12,234
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
I agree with Christina- we aren’t insurance experts. Did you ask your insurance company if your home burned to the ground if you could use the proceeds to buy a stick built home?

I have collision insurance on my car. If I had an accident- they would pay for the repairs. If the car it totaled, they’d give me a check to use to buy a new car. I would imagine that insurance on your home works similarly.

But it would depend on the extent of damage you had as to what you could do.
 
Oct 30, 2015
46
38
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North Laurasia
#6
LDVinVA, yes, that was what I was asking, and Just A guy, what you say makes sense. I doubt any insurance company would pay out what a new stick built would be (and yes, 'stick built' is the term construction guys use to mean a house is built from the ground up, so to speak, as opposed to ''mobile' home, meaning it got to the site on wheels, already constructed.)
And I do know that they can't be expected to pay out more than what the manufactured home was worth. Meaning, if the MF is currently insured for $150K, I certainly don't expect the insurance company to pay more than that.
I just was wondering if anyone knew whether a home insurance company would insist that it was a MF here before, that's the only, only thing that it can be replaced with.
I mean, my MF is a good one, I've taken very good care of it...but still, it's a MF. By which I mean, it is forever thought of, by potential buyers, etc, to be just that. A double wide 'trailer', no matter how well built it is. My neighbors down the road from me have a 'stick built' that is, quite frankly, a piece of junk. Started leaking almost immediately after the first windstorm, because it'd lost half its shingles as they'd been stapled on. Whereas my MF had them nailed on and didn't lose a one. Still, no one looks at that aspect.
Thank you, all, for your input.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,399
6,456
113
San Francisco
#8
Your first contact should be your insurance company; forgive me if you've already talked to them and are still not sure of your coverage; I'm not sure. I agree with my colleague, in the face of a total loss, they'll pay out whatever and you can do whatever with that money. If you have already queried your insurance agent, then move on to a good insurance broker who will know the details of the various companies' coverage. Claims adjusters go to work every morning and try to pay out as little as possible. Last thing you need is to pay premiums all these years and find out that there are restrictions on replacement of your home. You need a good broker who knows how things work.