Despite improvements in construction and safety standards since Hurricane Andrew, damage to mobile homes in the path of Hurricane Charley was significant according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
“We’re seeing reports that more than 95 percent of the homes that were totally destroyed in Desoto County were mobile homes,” said William Stander, PCI’s Tallahassee-based regional manager. “Since Florida has more mobile homes than any other state, and since many of them were built before the stricter construction and building codes went into effect after Hurricane Andrew, this destruction is not surprising – but it’s still shocking.”
Some mobile homeowners may have an easier time recouping their losses, depending on what kind of insurance coverage they purchased, according to Don Griffin, PCI vice president of commercial lines. “If the mobile homeowner has a full replacement value policy, they’ll be paid enough to cover buying a similar new model mobile home at today’s prices. But many mobile homeowners may have a policy that pays for actual cash value. Their insurance claim will take into account the depreciated value, and since mobile homes typically depreciate in value rather than increasing in value over the years, the insurance recovery may not cover the cost of replacing it with today’s model.”
Griffin noted that mobile homes, also referred to as “manufactured homes,” should not be confused with modular homes. “Newer modular homes that are pre-built at a factory, then assembled on site and secured to a foundation or slab, are much more likely to survive damage. But mobile homes and trailers allow wind to circulate underneath, and even with the anchored tie-down straps that are now required for mobile homes, many of them were no match for Hurricane Charley.”
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