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Mobile home owners struggle to find insurance in Florida's 'dysfunctional' market

Trevor Fraser, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Business News

ORMOND BEACH, Florida — The problems at Peggy Childress’ mobile home started in May when a tree from the vacant lot next door crashed through their carport, the first damage she or her husband, Mike, could recall in 15 years of living there.

Having the tree removed cost $600, all the money they had in savings. “It wiped us out,” said Childress, 61.

Then Hurricane Ian tore off their roof.

“It was like it was raining inside,” Childress said. Rooms filled with water, then mold.

Childress said she’s gotten estimates of more than $22,000 for repairs, “more than this place is worth.”

As is the case with many owners of manufactured and mobile homes Florida, the Childresses don’t have home insurance, so they will somehow have to cover the full cost of repairs themselves.

 

“Homeowner’s insurance is a continual challenge for the industry,” said Jim Ayotte, executive director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association. “The market is dysfunctional, and homeowners are struggling to find coverage that’s affordable.”

There are about 822,000 manufactured and mobile homes in Florida today, according to the Census Bureau, nearly 10% of the total supply of homes.

In 2018, only 260,127 manufactured homes were insured, according to information from the Office of Insurance Regulation. The agency did not return a request for updated information.

Only 1,732 manufactured and mobile homes in Florida carry flood insurance, according to the federal Office of Emergency Management.

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