Mortgage companies rely on mortgage insurance to protect themselves from defaulting mortgage borrowers. If a mortgage buyer does not make the payments, then the insurance company pays to the mortgage company. Mortgage companies buy their insurance from insurance providers and pay premiums on the same. These premiums are then passed on to the buyers of the mortgage. Buyers may have to pay for the premiums on an annual, monthly or single-time basis. The insurance payments are added to the monthly payments of the mortgages. Mortgage insurance policies are also called Private Mortgage Insurance or Lender’s Mortgage Insurance.
Generally, mortgage companies need to be insured for all mortgages that are above 80% of the total property value. If the mortgage buyer makes a down payment of at least 20% of the mortgage value, then the company may not require an insurance policy. But typically, mortgage buyers cannot afford to pay 20% of the down payment, and hence most mortgage companies require insurance, and these insurance premiums increase the monthly payments of the borrowers.
Thus, the mortgage lenders get to choose their insurance providers, but the borrowers of the mortgage are obliged to pay the premiums. This is where the controversy against mortgage insurance begins. But paying a mortgage premium allows the mortgage buyer to be able to buy the house sooner. This also increases the cost of the house and enables the person to upgrade to a more expensive house sooner than expected.
Sometimes the added cost to the borrower due to the payment of insurance dues to the company is added in the monthly payment itself. In such cases, the payment is called as a capitalized payment. Capitalization provides some benefits to the borrower, as the entire payment then becomes tax-deductible.
Mortgage insurance must follow the guidelines of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Both government and private financial institutions can provide mortgage insurance. The premiums payable on mortgage insurance depend on the purpose for which the borrower is buying the mortgage. In general, mortgage premiums on housing are higher than for other purposes.