To begin, let’s define what mortgage insurance is. In simple terms, mortgage insurance are insurance policies that protect the lender if the borrower defaults on their loan. The insurance premium is paid by the borrower and can either be paid upfront or included in the monthly mortgage payment.

Why is mortgage insurance important, you ask? Well, it allows borrowers with a lower down payment to purchase a home. If a borrower has a down payment of less than 20% of a home’s value, they must have mortgage insurance to protect the lender.

Now that you have a basic understanding of mortgage insurance let’s dive into who and what types of loans require it. Keep reading!


Not everyone needs to have mortgage insurance, but there are certain circumstances where it is required. Let’s take a look at a few common situations:

  • Borrowers with less than 20% down payment: If you’re putting less than 20% down on a home, you’ll likely be required to have mortgage insurance. The reason for this is that lenders see you as a higher risk for default, so they need insurance to protect their investments.
  • Conventional Loans: Conventional loans, which are not backed by the government, require mortgage insurance if you have less than 20% down.
  • FHA Loans: FHA loans, which are supported by the Federal Housing Administration, always require mortgage insurance. The FHA requires both an upfront and monthly premium, so it’s essential to factor these costs into your budget.
  • USDA Loans: USDA loans, another type backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, also require mortgage insurance. However, the USDA’s mortgage insurance premiums are often lower than those for FHA loans.

So, if you’re in one of these situations, you’ll likely be required to have https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/104503/mortgage-insurance-data-at-a-glance-2021.pdfmortgage insurance. But, as always, be sure to discuss your specific situation with a lender or, better yet, a loan officer to better understand your requirements.


When it comes to mortgage insurance, especially for first-time home buyers, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which type is right for you. But don’t worry; I’m here to help simplify the process! Let’s review the five most common types of mortgage insurance:


Have you heard of a single-premium mortgage insurance policy? With this policy, you pay the entire premium upfront at closing. So, instead of paying monthly insurance, you pay a lump sum initially. This can be a great option if you want to get the mortgage insurance out of the way, but it can also be more expensive in the long run.


If you prefer to have your mortgage insurance taken care of right away, you might consider an upfront mortgage insurance policy. This requires you to pay the upfront premium at closing, just like single-premium insurance. The advantage of this option is that you won’t have to worry about monthly payments, but it can also be more expensive in the short term.


On the other hand, monthly mortgage insurance allows to pay a portion of the insurance premium each month with your mortgage payment. This is the common premium buyers elect to pay and make for a more affordable monthly payment.


With a refundable mortgage insurance policy, you can receive a refund on your premium if you reach a certain equity threshold on your home. This can be a great choice if you’re planning to sell your property in the near future, make significant improvements or pay down a large portion of the principal shortly after buying. But remember that it’s usually more expensive than other types of insurance.


Last but not least, we have split premium mortgage insurance. This allows you to split the cost of the premium between upfront payments and monthly payments. This can be a good option if you’re looking for a compromise between the lump sum payment of single premium insurance and monthly insurance costs.


Good news, homebuyers! Not all loans require mortgage insurance. So, if you’re looking to save some money on your monthly payments and upfront costs, you may want to consider these two loan options:


If you’re a veteran, you may be qualified for a VA loan. These loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and don’t require mortgage insurance, although they may require you to pay a funding fee.

This can be a huge cost-saver, as mortgage insurance can add up to thousands (even tens of thousands) of dollars over the life of your loan. And it doesn’t stop there because VA loans come with other benefits, like lower interest rates and no down payment requirements.


Jumbo loans are those that exceed the maximum loan limits set by government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now, while Jumbo loans are considered riskier by lenders, some may not require mortgage insurance.

But, as with all loans, it’s best to check with your lender to be sure. Jumbo loans often come with higher interest rates, so consider the pros and cons before you decide if this option is right for you.


One of the biggest concerns homebuyers have when it comes to mortgage insurance is the cost. After all, you want to make sure you’re making a sound financial decision, and you want to know what you’re paying for. So, let’s talk about the cost of mortgage insurance and what factors can affect it.


The cost of mortgage insurance can vary greatly depending on a few factors. Here are some of them:

  1. The amount you’re borrowing compared to the value of the home (LTV): If you’re borrowing a lot of money compared to the house’s worth, you’ll probably have to pay more for insurance.
  2. Your credit score: If your credit history is good, you’ll likely pay less for insurance.
  3. What type of loan you’re getting: Some loans, like those backed by the government, might require you to pay more or less for insurance than others.
  4. How long you’re borrowing the money: The longer you borrow, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance.
  5. How much money you’re putting down: If you’re putting down a lot of money, you’ll likely pay less for insurance.
  6. The value of the loan: If you’re borrowing a lot of money, you’ll have to pay more for insurance.
  7. Where you live: Different states can have different rules and costs for insurance.
  8. Why you’re getting the loan: If you’re buying a home to live in, you might pay less for insurance than buying it as an investment.
  9. Who you get insurance from: Different companies might charge different prices for insurance, so it’s best to have your loan officer shop around.


When compared with conventional loans, mortgage insurance can be more expensive. This is because conventional loans often have lower down payment requirements and lower interest rates.

But, as I mentioned earlier, mortgage insurance is required for conventional loans if you have a down payment of less than 20%. So, if you’re trying to compare the cost of mortgage insurance between conventional and other loan types, consider the total cost of the loan, including interest rates, down payment requirements, and mortgage insurance.


Wrapping up, mortgage insurance is a key aspect for many homebuyers, especially those with a down payment of less than 20%. Knowing the various options for mortgage insurance, including the pros and cons and the cost associated with each, is essential. Remember, not all loans require mortgage insurance, so it’s necessary to know which loans do and don’t.

As your loan officer, I aim to guide you through the home-buying process with ease and comfort. I know it can be overwhelming, but I’m here to help. If you have any questions or are ready to dive in, just contact me. I’m all ears! Let’s make your dream home a reality!

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I enjoy sharing my experience gained originating mortgage loans since 2003. When not helping borrowers with their mortgage needs, I enjoying spending time with family and friends. You can learn more about me here.