The cost of an insurance policy on any kind of home is directly related to the cost of the property being insured and the level of risk an insurance company perceives to be associated with that property.
Understanding this dynamic is the key that can help owners of manufactured homes find and engineer the best possible coverage rates for their homeowner’s insurance policies.
Generally speaking, the best ways to reduce the cost of insurance on one’s manufactured home involve reducing the perceived risk associated with the home through maintenance and security improvements or by reducing the potential costs to the insurance company by choosing higher deductibles.
Properties for which multiple claims are filed are considered to be higher risk for insurance companies. This is true regardless of whether those claims were filed by the property’s current or previous owners. Upgrades to the physical property that reduce the likelihood of damage or loss during common events such as storms can help owners of manufactured homes reduce the number of claims they file, as well as their premiums for manufactured home insurance.
In some cases, these improvements can be relatively simple. Replacing worn weather stripping around doors, replacing windows that are in poor condition and repairing or adding gutters and downspouts to a roof can all significantly lower the likelihood of water damage to a property and thus reduce an insurance provider’s concerns about risk.
On a slightly more complicated note, owners of manufactured homes who intend to do any work on their properties can strategically select durable and non-flammable building materials for their projects. Construction that is more resistant to damage and bad weather is less expensive to insure and policy holders will probably update their policies to reflect such changes.
Installing a burglar alarm or security system can also have a large and positive impact on a policy holder’s insurance premiums. Homeowners interested in installing a security system may want to consult with their insurance companies ahead of time to verify if there are any minimum requirements the system must meet to qualify for a premium reduction. They should also inquire about what documentation, if any, the insurance company will need as proof of installation before price reductions go into effect.
Owners of manufactured homes who do not wish to or who cannot currently afford to install a full security system may be able to make some smaller progress by installing deadbolts on their doors. Policy holders looking for more inexpensive security upgrades can generally get a list of suggestions from their insurance providers.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are inexpensive, but installing an adequate number in appropriate places can drop homeowner’s annual premiums by as much as 10 percent. Installing fire suppressant or sprinkler systems, or in some cases simply purchasing fire extinguishers for one’s home can also improve a policy holder’s status with his or her insurance company.
Owners of manufactured homes should also be aware that community factors influence their insurance premiums. Improvements to their neighborhoods, therefore, can result in lowered premiums if they take the time to make their insurance companies aware of those changes. Examples of neighborhood changes that may reduce a homeowner’s premiums include:
Some aspects of a home or property can automatically raise insurance premiums. Swimming pools and trampolines are prime examples of this. Having them on a property can raise a policy holder’s insurance premiums by more than 10 percent. While removing a swimming pool may sound excessive, homeowners who do not yet have a pool can decide not to put one in. They can also look for less permanent installations, like trampolines, that they are no longer using and remove them from the property to quickly and noticeably reduce their insurance expenses.
One of the fastest and easiest ways for homeowners to lower their insurance premiums is to raise the deductible on their insurance plans. As deductibles go up, annual premiums go down. In these cases, the companies would still offer the same home insurance coverage, but they would do so only after the homeowner has paid a certain amount out of pocket to fix any damages on the property. Obviously, this option requires that homeowners set aside a reasonable amount of money in an emergency fund so that she or he is ready and able to quickly respond to smaller emergencies when they arise, as insurance will no longer quickly kick in to cover those costs. However, for the owners of manufactured homes who are in a position to do this, raising a policy’s household deductible can save a household large amounts of money in the long run.
Another option for the owners of manufactured homes who can afford it is to pay off the mortgage on the home. Insurance companies typically assume that homeowners who fully own their homes intend to stay there long term and will therefore be more responsible than average in taking care of, maintaining and investing in the property. As a result, most companies noticeably lower insurance premiums on a property when the mortgage is paid off.
Owners of manufactured homes may be able to find discounted or reduced-rate coverage by shopping around. Policy holders with a clear understanding of what they need and the state of their properties are in a good position to compare insurance offerings from multiple providers. They may be able to take advantage of special offers by switching insurance companies. Alternatively, by pointing out to the company they have a policy with what they could save by switching to an equivalent policy from another provider, they may be able to convince their current insurers to lower their premiums to match the other offer.
Homeowners who do not want to shop around will potentially see lower premiums or deductibles over time simply by being responsible homeowners. The longer they go without unnecessary or extraneous claims, the more confidence their insurance company will have in them as homeowners and the lower their perceived risk will be. This almost always results in lower costs. Similarly, homeowners may be able to reduce their insurance costs by purchasing all of their insurance through one company. Premiums for homeowners who hold comprehensive coverage from a single insurer can cost up to one-tenth less than those for homeowners who hold policies with multiple companies.