Private Mortgage Insurance - PMI

Definition of 'Private Mortgage Insurance - PMI'


A risk-management product that protects lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. Most lenders require private mortgage insurance (PMI) for loans with loan-to-value (LTV) percentages in excess of 80% (the buyer put down less than 20% of the home's value upon purchase). This allows borrowers to make a smaller down payment of 3% to 19.99%, instead of 20%, allowing them to obtain a mortgage sooner since they don’t have to save up as much money. Borrowers pay their PMI monthly until they have accumulated enough equity in the home that the lender no longer considers them high risk.

Investopedia explains 'Private Mortgage Insurance - PMI'


PMI only applies to conventional loans. Federal Housing Administration loans have their own mortgage insurance with different requirements, while Veterans Administration loans don’t require any mortgage insurance despite allowing 0% down payments.

PMI costs about 0.25% to 2% of your loan balance per year, depending on your down payment, loan term and credit score. The greater your risk factors, the higher the rate you pay. Also, because PMI is a percentage of the loan amount, the more you borrow, the more PMI you’ll pay. There are six major PMI companies in the United States. They charge similar rates, which are adjusted annually.

Keep track of your payments on the mortgage’s principal. When you reach 20% equity, you can notify the lender in writing that it is time to discontinue the PMI premiums. Lenders are required give the buyer a written statement at closing notifying them how many years and months it will take for them to pay 20% of the principal. You can also request PMI cancelation if your equity grows to 20% due to home-price appreciation or because you’ve made additional principal payments. The lender should comply as long as your home’s value hasn’t dropped, you have a history of on-time payments and you don’t have a second mortgage.

Once your down payment, plus the principal you’ve paid off, equals 22% of the home’s purchase price, the lender must automatically cancel PMI as required by the federal Homeowners Protection Act, even if your home’s market value has gone down (as long as you’re current on your mortgage).



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
  2. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  3. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  4. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  5. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
  6. Retail Sales

    An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
Trading Center