You signed up for insurance for your mobile or manufactured home, but does the claims process confuse you? Well, we are here to help you figure out everything you need to know to help you file your claim the right way.
Around 5% of homeowners file home insurance claims every year, but getting your claim approved might not be as easy as filling out a form. If your mobile or manufactured home was insured but suffered damage or was entirely destroyed, you can use these tips to help negotiate a full & fair insurance claim settlement!
Generally, most mobile home insurance providers offer four areas of coverage, much like a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, it’s just that the formulas used to calculate benefits and the limits of coverage are different. Always keep in mind that your home is a valuable asset. It falls on you to make sure that your insurance policy is in order, and that you have accounted for you’re your belongings as well.
You can use the following tips to make sure that you are able to negotiate a fair and full insurance claim settlement.
Determine what your policy covers:
Once you file your claim, request a complete copy of your policy. The complete policy will include many more pages that explain how the policy pays your claim, what you have to do and any exclusions or limitations that apply to your individual situation.
On the declarations page (first page of the policy), you will find how much insurance you have for each area of coverage, plus any endorsements or riders that may have been included.
Read through your policy carefully, and read them again, and again. Once you know what the maximum amounts of insurance benefits you can collect are, you can focus on figuring out the value/amount of your losses. If your home was destroyed, it is quite likely that you will need (and might be rightfully entitled to) every dollar of available benefits as per your policy. However, if your home was damaged (substantially or otherwise), the value of the damage may not quite reach the maximum available benefits possible under your policy.
Prepare in advance:
One of the best ways to make sure your claim gets approved is to do some of the legwork in advance, like maintaining records of your property and gaining an understanding of your policy’s limits, exclusions, and riders.
- Itemize your belongings in a list so you are prepared in advance
- Manage the insurance adjusters
- Always make a record of your interaction with insurance adjusters
- Remember to report any and all damage to your property
- Repair your home ASAP
- Don’t delay filing your homeowners’ claims paperwork
Ready to file a claim? Here is some information that might help you!
As stated above, whether your home has been damaged or destroyed, or in the case that you’ve been robbed or had your possessions destroyed, file your insurance claim as soon as possible.
- Claim Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
Once your claim is open and in the process of being scrutinized, you can ask for an advance of your ALE (if mentioned in your policy). Additional Living Expense coverage pays for your hotel or rent until your home is repaired or replaced.
- Take stock of all your losses/damages
The next step is to make a complete and truthful list of all the losses or damage that you and your property suffered. In all likelihood, you will have to provide an itemized inventory of your personal property, which is why it’s best to prepare one in advance.
- Check on the availability of new homes
You will have to give your insurance provider estimates about potential properties within the same scale as your previous home, so as to be able to find a comparable property.
- Learn about Depreciation
Most policies give insurance companies the ability to apply the concept of depreciation when calculating what they owe you. Depreciation reduces the value of an item/property based on age and condition, determined at the moment before it was damaged/destroyed.
Depreciation is negotiable; it is subjective, so learn about it beforehand. Not all items lose value over time, and thus their value cannot be depreciated. Sometimes depreciation deductibles can be recovered, but not always
Push back if an adjuster is trying to depreciate everything by a set percentage across the board, or reduce the value of items that were in great condition. If you have replacement cost coverage, you will have the opportunity to replace the items and submit receipts to your insurance company for the difference between the price it costs to replace the item at today’s dollar value and what they paid you after depreciation.
- Check if you have Replacement Cost Coverage
If you have this coverage, you will have the opportunity to replace various items, and can then submit receipts to your insurance company for the difference replacement cost, and the depreciation cost. If you do have RCC, your insurance company MUST first pay you a depreciated value at the beginning, and a full replacement cost once you buy a new home & property.
- Determine your exact type of home & foundational base
Today, most people use the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” to mean the same thing, however “manufactured homes” are not always the same as “modular homes.” Modular homes tend to adhere to local building codes and, are rooted within a permanent foundation, unlike a manufactured home.
There are 3 main variations of modern manufactured homes: singlewides, doublewides, and triplewides. They can be placed on many different platforms such as a permanent cement-based foundation, within a basement, or even on a pier or within a home park. Determining how yours was constructed is extremely important when filing your insurance claim.
- Think of your insurance claim as a business negotiation
Being proactive can really help you in gaining your full benefits. Whoever your insurer may be, you must assert your rights since you have paid for it, and are entitled to receive fair and just treatment by adjustors and other insurance agents. Maintain a proper paper trail of everything you can, while also keeping a record of any conversations/interactions with adjusters and agents. Be mindful of what you say, you owe them the truth, but you don’t have to give them a historical record. Make sure you handle all/most of your communications by email.
- Lastly, ask for exceptions or extensions
Don’t be afraid to push for any extensions or exceptions you feel you may be entitled to – it’s your money and property on the line! Recovery of assets/property can be a long, arduous process, so pace yourself and make sure you don’t have to scramble for anything at the last minute!