What Is a Mortgagee Clause?

A mortgagee clause is found in many property insurance policies, and it provides protection for a mortgage lender if a property is damaged. Normally, you will be asked to agree to a mortgagee clause when you take out a mortgage.

In effect, a mortgagee clause is a separate agreement between your mortgage lender (the mortgagee) and the insurance company that is insuring your property. A mortgagee clause ensures that if your property is damaged while you are paying off the mortgage, the insurance company will pay your mortgage lender for this loss, even though it’s covered on your insurance policy.

A lender would not lend a substantial amount of money secured by property without the inclusion of a mortgagee clause in the borrower’s property insurance policy, so they are an important part of your mortgage and property insurance contracts.

Key Takeaways

  • A mortgagee clause is a part of your homeowners insurance policy that protects your lender—the mortgagee—from losses incurred due to damage to your property. 
  • Many mortgage providers require a mortgagee clause in place to grant a mortgage.
  • A mortgagee clause states that if a property is damaged during the mortgage period, the insurance company must pay the mortgagee for this. 
  • For example, if you obtain a mortgage to buy a home or property and that property is then destroyed in a fire, the mortgagee clause would ensure that the loss would be payable to your lender even though it’s part of your insurance policy.

Mortgagee Clause Definition

Most mortgage providers (mortgagees) will require you (the borrower, or mortgagor) to take out homeowners insurance to get a loan. Homeowners insurance provides you with protection against damage to your property and its contents, but it also provides protection for your lender. The mortgagee clause is a key part of these protections.

A mortgagee clause states that if a property is damaged during the mortgage period, the insurance company must pay the mortgagee for this. For example, if you obtain a mortgage to buy a home or property and that property is then destroyed in a fire, the mortgagee clause would ensure that the loss would be payable to your lender even though it’s part of your insurance policy.

This clause also protects the lender if you cause damage to the property, which leads the insurance provider to cancel the policy. For example, if you commit arson—an act that would void your insurance policy—the clause protects the mortgagee, ensuring that your lender will still be covered.

Who’s Who

It’s important to understand the terminology used in mortgage negotiations. A mortgagor is a borrower. A mortgagee is a lender that provides a mortgage loan to a mortgagor.

How a Mortgagee Clause Works

Most lenders require that borrowers have homeowners insurance and that the insurance policy include a mortgagee clause. The policy will state who has the lien within the policy. In some cases, if it’s not a requirement to get a mortgagee clause, then a borrower must contact a lender to add the clause to their current contract.

Mortgagee clauses provide valuable protection for lenders because of the way that mortgages work. When you take out a mortgage, you are essentially offering your home as collateral for a loan, which you promise to pay back. If you can’t keep that promise, then your lender (the mortgagee) can foreclose on the property and sell it to recoup costs. But if the property is damaged, then the mortgagee’s investment is put in jeopardy. The mortgagee clause ensures that the mortgagee will be paid out even if you are responsible for the damage to the property.

In other words, a mortgagee clause is a form of indemnity protection for the lender, because if there is any loss or damage to the collateral property, the lender is indemnified up to the interest that it has in that property.

Mortgagee clauses are an important component of the mortgage market. Without the protection of the mortgagee clause, financial institutions would be unlikely to loan the large amounts of money necessary to purchase homes, office buildings, or factories.

What is an example of a mortgagee clause?

Mortgagee clauses protect your lender from damage to your property, even if you caused it. So, for example, if you commit arson—an act that would void your insurance policy—the clause protects the mortgagee, ensuring that your lender will still be covered.

Is the mortgagee the borrower?

No. A mortgagee is a lender—specifically, an entity that lends money to a borrower for the purpose of purchasing real estate. In a mortgage transaction, the lender serves as the mortgagee and the borrower is known as the mortgagor.

Can a person be a mortgagee?

Yes. Anyone who lends you money to buy a home and enters into a mortgage contract with you can be a mortgagee. When you sign a mortgage contract with an individual, it’s called a private mortgage.

The Bottom Line

A mortgagee clause is a part of your homeowners insurance policy that protects your lender (the mortgagee) from losses incurred due to damage to your property. Many mortgage providers will require a mortgagee clause to grant you a mortgage.

A mortgagee clause states that if a property is damaged during the mortgage period, the insurance company must pay the mortgagee for this. For example, if you obtain a mortgage to buy a home or property and that property is then destroyed in a fire, the mortgagee clause would ensure that the loss would be payable to your lender even though it’s part of your insurance policy.