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What to Know about Mortgage Insurance?

Financial Tips | Comments Off

Currently if you are looking for a mortgage that is more than 80% of your home value, you probably have two ways: one is taking out the second mortgage for the amount above 80%, or purchasing mortgage insurance on the current mortgage to reduce the risk of the lenders. Which way to go? It depends on you!

What is mortgage insurance?

Maybe you are totally new to mortgage insurance if you have never had business with banks or lending institutions alike. Simply speaking, mortgage insurance is a kind of financial guaranty that protects lenders against the losses in the event that borrowers default on a mortgage loan. In case of default, the lenders will take the property while the mortgage insurer makes the compensation to them. Thus, by insuring the mortgage, the insurance company shares the risk of lending money to the borrower.

If you are a bit confused, let’s take an example:

  • Say you want to purchase a new home which costs $120,000. You pay down 10% and take out a mortgage of $108,000 for the remaining 90%. The lender requires you to buy mortgage insurance for the loan to protect himself/herself against losses caused by your default. Then you have to purchase a mortgage insurance policy that covers 25% of $108,000 ($27,000), leaving the rest to the lender. If you default and the house is sold at a loss, the mortgage insurer will first repay $27,000 of the loss.

Mortgage insurance helps home buyers become home owners sooner, and undoubtedly increase their purchase power, for instance, first-time home buyers can take advantage of mortgage insurance to access to lower down payment. In most cases, mortgage insurance will be required by lenders when the down payments are less than 20%.

Who is responsible for the insurance premium?

Though private mortgage insurance in the US is divided into borrower-paid type and lender-paid type, actually in most cases the mortgage insurance is paid by borrowers. The insurer will charge an upfront sum of premium for the coverage, and besides, you have to pay a monthly or annually premium. The insurance rate can range from 0.5% to 6% of the loan principal, based on the loan amount, LTV, fixed or variable, as well as your personal credit history. It is noted that mortgage insurance payments are not tax deductible.

How to obtain mortgage insurance?

If you have decided to purchase a house with the aid of mortgage insurance, your mortgage lender would be your first resource for mortgage insurance, as the lender may have partnership with a specific mortgage insurance company, which might make your coverage options and payments affordable and flexible.

Besides, you can turn to insurance agents or brokers that are specialized in helping customers select mortgage insurance. A reliable and good broker can save you a lot of time in comparison shopping and lead you to the best suitable insurer or coverage. Or you can visit the websites of mortgage insurance companies, check their coverage options, quotes, services and reviews. This will help you find out the specific policy that meets your needs and budget.

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