Manufactured Home Installation Questions Your Clients May Ask

September 2022

A manufactured home park on a beautiful, sunny day

Approximately 22 million Americans live in manufactured homes, and 90 percent of residents have reported that they are satisfied with their homes. The popularity of manufactured homes has grown over the years due to their affordability. The average price of a manufactured home is $57,700, compared to the $413,500 median price of existing single-family homes. Could manufactured homes be the future of affordable housing in America? Those are very encouraging numbers, considering how expensive the U.S. housing market has become. In May 2022, the White House released a Housing Supply Action Plan to help “ease the burden of housing costs.”
As we have previously discussed, manufactured homes are often more vulnerable to extreme weather than brick-and-mortar homes. Their size and weight may make them more prone to storm damage, but that doesn’t mean they are inherently unsafe. Safety regulations are in place for the manufacturing, transportation and installation of manufactured homes. If your clients are curious about manufactured home safety, you may want to review these common questions with them.

Who Regulates Manufactured Home Safety?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) governs the construction of manufactured homes, and the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) administers the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (the Act).
HUD has federal oversight of manufactured home safety and may supersede state or local laws if they do not meet HUD safety standards. The OMHP administers standards directly and through partnerships with state agencies. Other responsibilities carried out by the OMHP include:
  • Conducting inspections of factories and retailers
  • Overseeing installation standards
  • Administering a program for resolving disputes regarding defects
  • Establishing and collecting fees for each manufactured home built
  • Authorizing certification labels for homes that meet HUD standards
  • Pursuing criminal or civil action for violations of the Act
  • Overseeing the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee
  • Hiring contractors that help with administering programs
  • Cooperating with federal agencies like the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on cross-departmental issues
Manufactured homes are also subject to local laws regarding safety, permits and zoning. Some states require tie-downs, while others don’t. Permits are often required by states to construct manufactured park homes. They may also be required to move a manufactured home’s location, and state zoning laws often determine where homeowners are allowed to house their manufactured homes

Manufactured Home Tie-Downs: When Did They Become Required?

In 1976, the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Act was passed by Congress. This act guaranteed that manufactured homes would be constructed using rigid standards. One of the standards the act introduced was the use of preapproved tie-down straps, which were required to be spaced about eight feet apart.
In the 1990s, following devastation of Hurricane Andrew, HUD tightened requirements on tie-downs, requiring that they spaced approximately five feet apart. It is recommended that prospective homeowners purchase manufactured homes built after this requirement was put into place, or if purchasing older homes, perform a home inspection to make sure the home can be tied down and is up to code.

What Are Manufactured Home Tie-Downs?

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI®) defines tie-downs as “systems of heavy-duty straps and anchors designed to stabilize manufactured homes…during high winds.” 
There are two kinds of tie-downs:
  • Over-the-Top: These straps are positioned over the manufactured home’s siding and roof. This method is very effective but isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing. Some companies have manufactured their homes to have concealed over-the-top tie-downs located under the home’s siding and roof.
  • Frame Anchors: This method involves straps attaching to a manufactured home’s rails. Newer manufactured homes can sometimes be secured only with frame anchors, but for older models InterNACHI® recommends also using over-the-top tie-downs.

Tie-down components include:
  • Ground anchors are metal rods that are secured into the ground, tightly securing tie-downs. The type of anchor used will depend on the home’s location and the condition of the soil. Some kinds of anchors include:
    • Concrete Deadman Anchor
    • Auger Anchor
    • Drive Anchor
    • Hard Rock Anchor
  • Hook-up and tension devices are strong, weather-resistant turnbuckles used to adjust the tension of tie-downs. These devices hold significant weight and prevent tie-downs from slipping from hook ends.

Can Manufactured Homeowners Buy Insurance?

Yes! Manufactured homes are not covered by traditional homeowners’ insurance policies, but there are insurance plans specifically designed for them. One option is the Insurmark Manufactured Homes policy. The plan is tailored for manufactured homes that are 20 years old or newer; the Homeowners Special Package Form 3 includes dwelling coverage, personal liability, personal property, additional living expense, other structures and third-party medical payments. A highlight of this product is the optional flood endorsement, which mirrors coverage you would find through the National Flood Insurance Program for residential properties. This coverage can be added to the policy for an additional flood premium.
Program features include:
  • Homeowners Form (HO-3) for Owner Occupied and Tennant occupied homes
  • Coverage available for personal property, other structures, additional living expenses, personal liability, and third-party medical payments
  • Flood, wind, and earthquake coverage available
  • Available in 50 states on a Surplus Lines basis, and offers coverage that some policies do not, such as wind/flood coverage in coastal areas and brushfire in hazard areas
  • $500 deductible standard
  • $300 minimum policy writing premium
  • Online rate, quote, bind policy issuance platform. Access to quoting is currently provided through exclusive broker/agent partnerships.
This article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized advice.This document has been compiled using information available but there are no warranties, representations or guarantees of the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for purpose of the information presented.
All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.
Aon Edge Insurance Agency, Inc. is a licensed producer in all states. (TX Lic# 1339727) (CA Lic# 0E67797); Insurmark is a division of Financial & Professional Risk Solutions, Inc.