The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has developed the first-of-its-kind Manufactured Home Inspection Checklist to help consumers gauge how vulnerable their home might be to wind damage based on that home’s location, how well it is anchored, and the type of foundation.
Tornadoes and high winds have taken a devastating toll on many communities already this year, and much of the damage has involved manufactured or mobile homes, according to emergency management reports.
Nearly eight percent of the U.S. population lives in manufactured homed, according to the Population Reference Bureau. Yet tragically, two-thirds of the 34 people killed in the catastrophic March 2 tornadoes in Kentucky and Indiana died in mobile homes.
“Residents of manufactured homes seem to be disproportionately affected by tornadoes and other types of windstorms. However, there are steps that can be taken to improve the chances that such home will be standing after storms with high wind speed and strong gusts pass through an area,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO of IBHS.
Models with the highest HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department) Wind Zone Rating offer higher levels of wind resistance. However, even manufactured homes with tie-downs can overturn during storms because they have light frames and offer winds a large surface area to push against. Also, their exteriors are vulnerable to high winds and wind-borne debris.
The HUD Wind Zone Rating, introduced in 1994, designates three zones that govern construction of new manufactured homes:
• HUD Wind Zone I = 70 mph basic wind speed
• HUD Wind Zone II = 100 mph basic wind speed
• HUD Wind Zone III = 110 mph basic wind speed
Manufactured homes built before 1994, as well as HUD Wind Zone I homes, are particularly vulnerable to damage during severe wind events. Unfortunately, strengthening these particular homes is very difficult.