How to find the VIN number on your mobile or manufactured home

Did you know that every mobile or manufactured home has an id tag called a data plate and locating this can be very important when purchasing, selling or trying to get insurance on a mobile or manufactured home.


Cartoon of a man trying to find the VIN number on a mobile home

A family member of ours recently purchased some land with 2 old mobile homes on the property. Before the closing could happen on the land the attorney requested the VIN for each of the mobile homes, sounds easy enough right?

Well after hours of research and looking in, under and around everything in the home here is what we found out.

Every mobile or manufactured home has a VIN or Vehicle Identification Number. On older, single wide mobile homes this is usually found on the data plate inside the mobile home.

The VIN contains several pieces of information about the home.

  1. The manufacturer, usually the first 3 letters of the VIN and are usually letters.
  2. The state where the home was built, 2 capital letters
  3. The serial number of the home
  4. And the section code if the mobile home is a double wide (or triple wide) then the section code will tell you what section of the home it is like A, B or C.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that every mobile and manufactured home has a data plate. More information about HUD and the data plates can be found on the HUD website.

The data plate is a paper label that is usually about the size of a standard sheet of paper and is usually located in a kitchen cabinet, a bedroom closet or an electrical panel. If the home is a doublewide the information might be on the outside of the home, on each side of the home, stamped on the metal frame near the front of the mobile home.

It’s important to know that HUD does not issue VIN numbers. They are issued by The Department of Motor Vehicles or a local state agency that regulates housing in your area.

There is also a map of the United States on the data plate that will have information on the wind zone, roof load and snow load of the mobile home. This can be very useful for your insurance company when obtaining insurance on your mobile home.

What happens if you can’t find the data plate?

In our case, we searched in every cabinet, closet, panel and found nothing. We looked under the home but it was so old the metal had started to pit and nothing could be read if it was there.

Here are a couple of options you can try:

  • Try to locate old insurance paperwork or contact the insurance company that provided insurance in the past on the home and see if you can find anything helpful from them
  • You can contact the In-Plant Primary Inspection Agency (IPIA) and obtain a new plate from them. You can find more information here https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/rmra/mhs/csp/mhsid

What is a HUD label?

The HUD label, also known as the certification Label or the HUD tag, is a metal plate that is attached to the outside of the manufactured home. It contains a 6 digit number which is the supplier shall provide. The HUD tag is usually located on the right back corner of the mobile home.

The HUD tag is usually required to get insurance on the home and some companies won’t issue insurance without a HUD tag.

We never found the data plate on our mobile home but we were able to get the VIN from some old insurance papers. You should never remove a data plate or a HUD tag from a mobile or manufactured home. If you are remodeling take steps to protect it and save someone down the road some time and effort.

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