5 Types of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

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Types of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Knowing your private mortgage insurance options is critical if you’re paying less than a 20% down payment ( PMI ). Some people simply can’t afford a 20% down payment. Others may choose to put down a smaller down payment in favor of having more cash on hand for repairs, remodels, furnishings and emergencies.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is a type of insurance that a borrower may need to purchase as a condition of a conventional mortgage. Most lenders require a PMI when a home buyer makes a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.

When a borrower makes a down payment of less than 20% of the property’s value, a mortgage has a loan-to-value ( loan-to-value ) ratio of more than 80% (the higher the loan-to-value ratio, the higher the lender’s mortgage risk).

Unlike most types of insurance, the policy protects the lender’s investment in the home, not the individual (the borrower) who purchased the insurance. However, the PMI makes it possible for some people to become homeowners sooner. For those individuals who choose to drop between 5% and 19.99% of the cost of housing, the PMI allows them the possibility of obtaining financing.

However, it comes with additional monthly costs. Borrowers must pay their PMIs until they have accumulated enough stock at home that lenders no longer consider them high risk.

Depending on the size of the down payment and mortgage, the length of the loan, and the borrower’s loan tenure, the cost of a Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) can vary from 0.25% to 2% of the loan balance per year on your credit score. The greater your risk factor, the more you The higher the interest rate paid. Because PMI is a percentage of the mortgage amount, the more you borrow, the more PMI you pay. There are several major PMI companies in the United States. They charge similar fees, which are adjusted annually.

While the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an extra expense, continuing to spend on rent while you wait to save for a bigger down payment could miss out on market appreciation. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll buy a home early, so the value of paying PMI is worth considering.

Some potential homeowners may want to consider Federal Housing Administration ( FHA ) mortgage insurance. However, this only applies if you qualify for a Federal Housing Administration loan ( FHA loan ).


  • If you’re buying a home with a down payment of less than 20% of the home’s cost, you’ll need private mortgage insurance (PMI).
  • Note that PMIs are designed to protect lenders, not borrowers, from potential losses.
  • There are four main types of mortgage insurance you can purchase: Borrower Paid Mortgage Insurance, Single Premium Mortgage Insurance, Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance, and Split Premium Mortgage Insurance.
  • If you obtained an FHA loan for your home purchase, there is an additional type of insurance that you will need.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Coverage

First, you should understand how PMI works. For example, let’s say you put down a 10% deposit and then use the remaining 90% of the property’s value to get a loan — a $20,000 deposit and a $180,000 loan. With mortgage insurance, the lender’s losses are limited if the lender must foreclose on your mortgage. This can happen if you lose your job and can’t pay for months.

Mortgage insurers cover a percentage of the lender’s losses. For example, let’s say the percentage is 25%. So if you still owe 85% of the $200,000 purchase price of your home ($170,000) at the time of foreclosure, instead of losing the full $170,000, the lender would only lose 75% of the $170,000, That is $127,500 of the principal of the home. The PMI will cover the other 25%, or $42,500. It will also cover 25% of the delinquent interest you have accrued and 25% of the lender’s foreclosure costs.

If PMI protects lenders, you may wonder why borrowers have to pay. Essentially, the borrower is compensating the lender for taking a higher risk, lending to you than lending to someone willing to put down a larger down payment.

How long should you take out private mortgage insurance?

Once the loan-to-value ratio falls below 80%, borrowers can request the removal of monthly mortgage insurance. Once the loan-to-value ratio of a mortgage falls to 78%, the lender must automatically cancel the PMI for as long as you are on your mortgage. This happens when your down payment, plus the loan principal you pay off, equals 22% of the home’s purchase price. This cancellation is a federal requirement under the Homeowners Protection Act, even if your home’s market value has dropped.

Types of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

1 Borrower has paid mortgage insurance

The most common type of PMI is Borrower Paid Mortgage Insurance ( BPMI Corporation ). BPMI is in the form of an additional monthly fee that you pay for your mortgage payments. After the loan closes, you pay BPMI monthly until you own 22% of the home equity (based on the original purchase price).

At this point, the lender must automatically cancel the BPMI as long as you are current on your mortgage payment. Have enough home equity built up? It usually takes 11 years to cancel the BPMI with regular monthly mortgage payments.

You can also proactively ask the lender to cancel the BPMI when you have 20% equity in your home. For your lender to cancel BPMI, your mortgage payments must be current. You must also have a satisfactory payment history and must not have any additional liens on your property. In some cases, you may need a current appraisal to prove the value of your home.

Some loan servicers may allow borrowers to cancel PMI more quickly based on the appreciation in home values. Assume that the borrower accumulates a 25% equity appreciation in the second to fifth years or 20% after the fifth year. In this case, the investor who purchased the loan may allow the PMI to be canceled after the home has demonstrated appreciation. This can be done through appraisals, Broker Price Opinion (BPO), or Automated Valuation Models (AVM).

You can also get rid of PMI early by refinancing. You’ll have to weigh in on refinancing costs, though, and keep paying mortgage insurance premiums. You can also cancel the PMI early by prepaying the mortgage principal so that you have at least 20% equity.

It’s worth considering if you’re willing to pay PMI up to 11 years to buy now. What will PMIs cost you in the long run? What are the potential costs of waiting to buy? Granted, you may miss out on building home equity when you’re renting, but you’ll also avoid many of the costs of owning a home. These costs include homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance, and repairs.

The other three types of PMI are not nearly as common as mortgage insurance paid by borrowers. You may still want to know how they work in case one of them sounds more appealing, or your lender offers you more than one mortgage insurance option.

2 Single Premium Mortgage Insurance

With Single Premium Mortgage Insurance (SPMI), also known as Single Payment Mortgage Insurance, you pay the mortgage insurance upfront payment in one lump sum. This can be done at any time in full closing or financing into a mortgage (in the latter case, it may be referred to as single financing mortgage insurance).

The benefit of SPMI is that your monthly payments will be lower than BPMI. This can help you qualify to borrow more money to buy a home. Another benefit is that you don’t have to worry about refinancing to get rid of PMIs. You also don’t have to watch your loan-to-value ratio to see when it’s time to cancel your PMI.

The risk is that if you refinance or sell within a few years, you won’t be able to refund any portion of the single premium. Also, if you fund a single premium, you will pay interest as long as you take out the mortgage. Also, if you don’t have enough money for the 20% down payment, you may not have the cash to pay a single premium upfront.

However, the seller or, in the case of a new home, the builder can pay the borrower for single premium mortgage insurance. You can try to negotiate it as part of your purchase offer.

If you plan to live in your home for three years or more, single-premium mortgage insurance may save you money. Ask your loan officer to see if this is the case. Note that not all lenders offer single premium mortgage insurance.

Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance

With Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI), your lender will technically pay the mortgage insurance premium. In effect, you’ll pay a slightly higher rate for the entire term of the loan.

Unlike BPMI, you cannot cancel LPMI when your equity reaches 78% as it is built into the loan. Refinancing will be the only way to lower your monthly payment. Once you own 20% or 22% equity, your interest rate doesn’t go down. The PMI paid by the lender is not refundable.

The benefits of the PMI paid by the lender, despite the interest rate, i.e. your monthly payment may still be lower than the monthly PMI payment. This way, you are eligible to borrow more money.

4 Split Premium Mortgage Insurance

Split-premium mortgage insurance is the least common type. It is a mix of the first two types we discussed: BPMI and SPMI.

Here’s how it works: You pay a one-time portion of your mortgage insurance at closing and a portion each month. You don’t have to come up with that much extra cash upfront like SPMI, and you don’t have to increase your monthly payment like BPMI.

One reason to choose split-premium mortgage insurance is if you have a high debt-to-income ratio. In this case, increasing your monthly payment too much with BPMI would mean not being eligible to borrow enough money to buy the house you want.

Prepaid premiums may range from 0.50% to 1.25% of the loan amount. The monthly premium will be based on the net loan-to-value ratio before any financing premium is factored in.

As with SPMI, you can ask the builder or seller to pay the initial premium, or you can factor it into the mortgage. Split premiums are partially refundable once mortgage insurance is canceled or terminated.

5 Federal Home Loan Mortgage Protection (MIP)

There is also a type of mortgage insurance. However, it is only used for FHA-guaranteed loans. These loans are often referred to as FHA loans or FHA mortgages. PMI through FHA is called MIP. This is a requirement for all FHA loans with a down payment of no more than 10%.

Also, it cannot be demolished without refinancing the home. MIPS requires an upfront payment and a monthly premium (usually added to the monthly mortgage note). If homebuyers put down more than 10 percent, they still have to wait 11 years before they can cancel the MIP from the loan.

Cost of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

The cost of your PMI premium will depend on several factors.

  • Which insurance plan do you choose?
  • Whether your interest rate is fixed or adjustable
  • Your loan term (usually 15 or 30 years)
  • Your down payment or loan-to-value ratio (LTV) (5% down payment will give you 95% LTV; 10% down payment will give you 90% LTV)
  • The amount of mortgage insurance required by the lender or investor (can be between 6% and 35%)
  • Is the premium refundable?
  • your credit score
  • Any additional risk factors, such as the loan being a huge mortgage, investment property, cash-out refinancing, or a second home

Generally speaking, based on any of these factors, the more risky you appear to be (usually taken into account when you take out a loan), the higher your premiums will be. For example, the lower the credit score, the lower the down payment, and the higher the premium.

According to Ginnie Mae and the Urban Institute, the average annual PMI is typically between 0.55% and 2.25% of the original loan amount. Here are some scenarios: If you take a 15% 15-year fixed-rate mortgage and have a credit score of 760 or higher, for example, you’ll pay 0.17% because you might be considered a low-risk borrower. If you put a 3% down payment on a 30-year adjustable-rate mortgage with a down payment rate of just 3 years, and your credit score is 630, your interest rate will be 2.81%. This is because, at most financial institutions, you are considered a high-risk borrower.

Once you know which percentage applies to your situation, multiply it by your borrowing amount. Then divide that number by 12 to see how much you’ll be paying each month. For example, a $200,000 loan with an annual premium of 0.65% would cost $1,300 per year (200,000 x $0.0065), or $108 per month ($1300/$12).

Estimated Private Mortgage Insurance Rate (PMI)

Many companies offer mortgage insurance. Their rates may vary slightly and your lender, not you, will choose the insurance company. However, you can get an idea of ​​the rates you’ll pay by studying the mortgage insurance rate card. MGIC, Radian, Essent, National MI, United Guarantage, and Genworth are the major private mortgage insurance providers.

Mortgage insurance rate cards can be confusing at first glance. Here’s how to use them.

  1. Find the column that corresponds to your credit score.
  2. Find the row that corresponds to your loan-to-value ratio.
  3. Determine applicable coverage. Search Fannie Mae’s mortgage insurance requirements online to determine how much insurance your loan needs. Alternatively, you can ask your lender (and impress them with your knowledge of how PMI works).
  4. Determine the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) ratio that corresponds to the intersection of your credit score, down payment, and insurance coverage.
  5. If applicable, add or subtract this rate to the amount in the adjustment table (below the main rate table) that corresponds to your credit score. For example, if you are refinancing in cash and your credit score is 720, you can add 0.20 to the interest rate.
  6. As shown in the previous section, multiply the total interest rate by the amount you borrowed, and this is your annual mortgage insurance premium. Divide by 12 to get your monthly mortgage insurance premium.

While some insurers will lower their rates after ten years, your rates will be the same every month. However, this isn’t the time when you should give up your insurance, so any savings won’t be as significant.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance works differently than an FHA loan. It will end up being more expensive than PMI for most borrowers.

PMI does not require you to pay upfront premiums unless you choose single-premium or split-premium mortgage insurance. In the case of single premium mortgage insurance, you will not pay monthly mortgage insurance premiums. In the case of reinsured mortgage insurance, you pay a lower monthly mortgage insurance premium because you already paid the upfront premium. However, everyone must pay an upfront premium with FHA mortgage insurance. What’s more, the money doesn’t reduce your monthly premiums.

As of August 2020, the first installment mortgage insurance premium ( Ufmip ) is 1.75% of the loan amount. You can pay this amount at closing, or finance it as part of your mortgage. For every $100,000 you borrow, UFMIP costs $1,750. If you finance it, you will also pay interest on it, and it will get more expensive over time. The seller is allowed to pay your UFMIP as long as the seller’s total contribution to your closing costs does not exceed 6% of the purchase price.

For an FHA mortgage, you will also pay a Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) of 0.45% to 1.05% of the loan amount each month, depending on your down payment and loan term. As shown in the FHA table below, if you have a $200,000 30-year loan and you pay the FHA minimum down payment of 3.5%, your MIP will be 0.85% over the life of the loan. Failure to cancel MIPs can be costly.

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For FHA loans with a down payment of 10% or more, you can cancel monthly MIPs after 11 years. But why get an FHA loan if you have a 10% deposit? You’ll only want to do this if your credit score is too low to qualify for a regular loan. Another good reason: If you have a low credit score it will give you a higher interest rate or PMI fee with a traditional loan than with an FHA loan.

You can get an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 580, possibly even lower (although lenders may require you to have a score of 620 or higher). Despite your lower credit score, you may qualify for the same interest rate as a traditional loan: 660 to 740, for example.

If you don’t take 10% or more of your FHA mortgage, the only way to stop paying FHA MIPs is to refinance it into a conventional loan. This step will be most meaningful after your credit score or loan-to-value ratio has increased substantially. However, refinancing means paying settlement costs, and when you’re ready to refinance, the rate may be higher. Higher interest rates plus closing costs may offset any savings from removing FHA mortgage insurance. Also, if you lose your job or have too much debt relative to your income, you can’t refinance.

Additionally, FHA loans are more generous, allowing the seller to contribute to the buyer’s end-of-term cost of the loan: up to 6% of the loan amount, compared to 3% for traditional loans. If you can’t afford a home and don’t have substantial closing cost assistance, an FHA loan may be your only option.

Bottom line

Mortgage insurance costs borrowers money, but it enables them to become homeowners faster because it reduces the risk of financial institutions issuing mortgages to people with smaller down payments. If you want to own home early on for lifestyle or affordability reasons, you may find it worthwhile to pay your mortgage insurance premiums. Plus the reason for this: Premiums can be canceled once your home equity hits 80% if you pay monthly PMI or split premiums for mortgage insurance.

However, if you’re a borrower who has to pay FHA insurance premiums during the loan period, you might think twice. You might be able to get rid of the PMI after refinancing the FHA loan. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that your employment status or market interest rates will make refinancing possible or profitable.


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