I n 1994, HUD created more stringent construction standards for manufactured homes sited proximate to the Gulf or Atlantic Ocean. They created construction standards for three levels of homes – Wind Zones I, II, and III. The vast majority of the United States is open for any of these homes. Wind Zone II homes are required in most Gulf and Atlantic coast adjacent counties. Only Wind Zone III homes may be installed in coastal Southeast Louisiana, Coastal South Florida, Coastal Alaska, and all of Hawaii.

To find out what construction upgrades come with a Wind Zone II home, I called Legacy Housing Executive Kenny Shipley. Mr. Shipley reports the following upgrades are included: 

1. Only 2”x4” interior wall studs (vs 2”x3” in Wind Zone I homes). 

2. The exterior wall studs are closer together. 

3. Metal straps that reach from the frame to the flooring of a Wind Zone I home reach all the way to the rafters on a Wind Zone II home; and 

4. More blocking and tie-downs during the installation. 

Kenny added that one of the best investments he ever made was a hail proof roof he put on his West Texas home where hailstorms are a regular occurrence. Investing in improved construction pays off. 

As repair costs have risen dramatically in the last four years, so has the cost of insurance. Searching for a manufactured homeowners insurance policy for a new $100,000 single section home in Oklahoma City yesterday, the lowest premium quoted was $1,800 by American Modern Insurance Company. That’s a monthly insurance cost of $150. 

Oklahoma mandates insurance rate reductions for “fortified homes.” Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama do too. Wind Zone II homes are considered “fortified homes.” While insurance discounts vary depending on the age of the home, a 10% premium reduction is typical for a Wind Zone II home. For the $100,000 valued Oklahoma manufactured home noted above, a 10% insurance premium discount equates to an annual savings of $180, or $15/month. 

Mr. Shipley advises that the wholesale cost of a single section Wind Zone II home versus a similar Wind Zone I home varies, but $1,500 is an average. He also reports that Wind Zone II homes require fortified installations that typically add another $500 to the installation cost. The additional installation costs are driven by additional blocking and tie down requirements. It’s reasonable to conclude that the additional cost of upgrading from a Wind Zone I to a Wind Zone II home is about $2,000.

Does the insurance cost savings offset the additional $2,000 Wind Zone II home cost? Using a 20-year term and a 10% interest rate, that additional cost of $2,000 equates to $18/ month. Thus, a home buyer choosing a $2,000 more expensive Wind Zone II home will pay a $2/month higher home loan plus insurance payment than they would for its Wind Zone I counterpart. So yes, at least in four states, a Wind Zone II upgrade practically costs the home buyer nothing. 

No insurance carrier I contacted has conducted an underwriting analysis to determine how much lower the losses are for Wind Zone II homes. Not only is the Wind Zone data often not asked on insurance applications, but very few home buyers purchase Wind Zone II homes in Wind Zone I areas Thus, there isn’t adequate experience data to know for sure. 

But aggregate loss data shows that wind generated losses account for roughly 40% of all manufactured homeowner insurance losses, though geographic location varies this number notably. If wind generated losses are reduced 25% for Wind Zone II homes, that equates to a 10% loss reduction which is exactly the reduce rate dictated by the fortified home laws in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. 


President of Mobile Insurance, an agency specializing in insurance for manufactured home communities and retailers. Member of numerous insurance companies’ policy development and advisory teams. One of largest manufactured home specialty agencies in the country. 2017- Present, Founder and Publisher of the Manufactured Housing Review, an industry publication dedicated to Manufactured Home Industry professionals. www.manufacturedhousingreview.com Kurt D. Kelley, J.D. President, Mobile Insurance Kurt@MobileAgency.com www.mobileagency.com