Mortgage Insurance and Benefits for Policyholders and Lenders

Mortgage insurance is a contract and policy that protects financial institutions in case the borrower passes away, defaults, or there are other circumstances that prevent him from making payments. Depending on the terms of the policy, the premium may be paid by the borrower or the loan provider.

When is Insurance Required?

Financial institutions require PMI in case the down payment is less than 20 percent. The reason is that lenders face a higher risk when borrowers put down between 5 and 20 percent. If the down payment is 5 percent and the home value is $250,000, the insurer will pay $37,500. This is the sum for the remaining 15 percent, which the policy would pay if the borrower defaults. This usually happens in the event of foreclosure.

Terms and Conditions

Some insurers require that policyholders pay monthly premiums, along with an upfront premium. Borrowers also pay taxes, property insurance, interest charges, and the principal amount. Individuals who have a chronic condition or a serious health problem often face strict conditions.

Policyholders may cancel the payments when their loan-to-value ratio and loan balance decrease and their home value increases. An appraisal is made to confirm this, and the borrower has to pay for it. In some countries, the policy is terminated when the outstanding balance reaches 78 percent of the sales value of the home. Borrowers who make timely payments may request termination of their mortgage insurance. This is possible when their outstanding balance has been amortized to 80 percent. However, cancellation may not be possible for borrowers with a bad payment record because they are considered high risk by financial institutions. The lender should inform the borrower about these provisions.

Mortgage Life and Mortgage Insurance

The main difference between the two policies is that mortgage life insurance is an optional cover. The insurer pays back the mortgage loan in case the policyholder passes away. You can buy this policy from an insurance company or your financial institution. Borrowers can choose from level term and decreasing term policies.


While premiums are an obvious downside, there are many benefits to buying mortgage insurance. One is that financial institutions offer lower interest rates, especially if your down payment is larger. Some people have a more limited access to traditional mortgages and benefit from mortgage insurance. Those who receive commissions and the self-employed may be unable to meet the standard lending criteria. If you buy a policy and have a good credit history, you will increase your chances of approval. Mortgage insurance is also an option for people who want to buy a cottage, second home, or vacation property. Some insurers also offer discounts for home improvements that make your property energy-efficient. Borrowers who buy an energy-efficient home are also offered a discount. In addition, some policies allow home buyers to save on moving supplies, truck rentals, and household appliances. Homeowners receive gift certificates and discounts on relocation, hotel reservations, car rentals, and more.

Benefits for Financial Institutions

There are many benefits for lenders, and one of them is that mortgage insurance provides risk protection. Another benefit is that it enhances the process of mortgage management. This is possible when effective delinquency and information management strategies and systems are used. Effective property valuation also benefits loan providers. Insurers collect data to assess risk and employ good decision making strategies. Mortgage insurance also helps financial institutions to manage the risks associated with high loan-to-value ratios. On their part, insurers make analysis, assess and monitor risk, and administrate programs. This is beneficial for loan providers because it simplifies decision making. The lending process is streamlined, which helps to increase the number of mortgages offered to applicants. To this, insurance companies coordinate with financial institutions to minimize risk, net loss, and defaults. Policies are tailored to the needs of loan providers and take different factors into account. These include loan purpose and amount, geographic location, occupation, employment status, as well as the value and type of the property. For example, financial institutions take less risk by offering mortgages for owner-occupied homes than for condominiums. Adjustable-rate mortgages are riskier than fixed-rate ones.

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