Connect With Us:

Loan Programs:

Conventional Loan

FHA Loan


VA Loan

Private Mortgage Insurance

PMI Versus MIP

4 Private Mortgage Plans

What Is PMI and MIP?

Do Conventional Loans Require PMI?

Return to menu

What is Private Mortgage Insurance Used for?

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is a safeguard for mortgage lenders, not homeowners that becomes essential when conventional mortgage holders make down payments of less than 20%. While it protects the lender, PMI does not benefit the homeowner directly.

Conventional conforming loans often necessitate this coverage, which lowers the lender's risk in case of default. Homebuyers can secure a mortgage with a lower down payment, but PMI is a monthly expense they must bear.

It is distinct from homeowner's hazard insurance, offering coverage to lenders if borrowers have less than a 20% down payment default on their loans. Understanding PMI is crucial for borrowers seeking conventional mortgages, as it impacts their monthly payments and homeownership costs.

Private Mortgage Insurance Explained

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) plays a crucial role in the mortgage industry, providing borrowers with an opportunity to secure a home loan with a lower down payment. This type of insurance is used to mitigate the risk for lenders when borrowers make a smaller down payment on their home.

PMI is required for conventional mortgages where the down payment is less than 20% of the home's purchase price. By paying PMI premiums, borrowers can access homeownership even without a substantial down payment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) enables borrowers to secure a mortgage with a lower down payment.
  • PMI is used to protect lenders from the risk of default when borrowers make a smaller down payment on their home.
  • PMI is required for conventional mortgages where the down payment is less than 20% of the home's purchase price.
  • By paying PMI premiums, borrowers can access homeownership even without a substantial down payment.

Understanding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is a form of insurance that lenders require borrowers to have when they make a down payment of less than 20% of the home's purchase price.

Definition and Purpose

PMI serves to protect the lender in the event that the borrower defaults on the mortgage loan. It is important to note that PMI is separate from homeowner's hazard insurance, and its primary beneficiary is the lender rather than the borrower.

Requirements for PMI

PMI requirements vary depending on the type of mortgage loan and the loan-to-value ratio (LTV). For conventional mortgages, PMI is typically required until the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78%, based on the original appraised value or purchase price, whichever is lower.

The Benefits of Private Mortgage Insurance

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) offers several benefits for both borrowers and lenders. By providing access to homeownership with lower down payments, PMI makes owning a home more attainable for individuals who may not have saved up a substantial down payment. Borrowers can secure a mortgage with as little as 3% of the home's purchase price, allowing them to enter the housing market sooner.

Another significant benefit of PMI is the protection it provides for lenders. With PMI, lenders have a safety net in case a borrower defaults on their mortgage payments. This lender protection enables financial institutions to approve mortgages for borrowers with less than a 20% down payment. By mitigating the risk of default, PMI helps lenders maintain a healthy mortgage portfolio and continue offering mortgages to a broader range of borrowers.

When is Private Mortgage Insurance Required?

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is typically required when the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is higher than 80%. This means that the down payment is less than 20% of the home's purchase price.

Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)

The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is a percentage that represents the amount of the loan compared to the appraised value of the property. When the LTV exceeds 80%, PMI is required.

Conventional Mortgages

For conventional mortgages, PMI is mandatory if the down payment is less than 20%. This ensures that lenders are protected in case of default.

How is Private Mortgage Insurance Calculated?

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) premiums are calculated based on several factors that help determine the level of risk associated with the mortgage loan. Understanding how PMI is calculated can provide valuable insight for borrowers.

Factors Affecting PMI Premiums

The amount of PMI premium to be paid is influenced by various factors:

  1. Loan amount: The total amount of the mortgage loan affects the PMI premiums. Generally, the higher the loan amount, the higher the PMI premiums.
  2. Credit score: Borrowers with lower credit scores may be subject to higher PMI premiums as they are considered to be at a higher risk of default.
  3. Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): The LTV ratio is the percentage of the loan amount compared to the appraised value or purchase price of the home. Higher LTV ratios, indicating a smaller down payment, often result in higher PMI premiums.
  4. Type of mortgage: The type of mortgage being used, such as conventional or government-backed loans, can also impact the PMI premiums. Each loan type has its own guidelines and requirements.

Private Mortgage Insurance Plans

There are several payment options:

  1. Borrower-paid (monthly) mortgage insurance: Borrower-paid mortgage insurance premiums are included in your monthly payment.
    The principal, interest charges, and other costs like as property taxes, will all be included. The funds are then disbursed to the insurer regularly.
  2. Lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI): Lender-paid mortgage insurance is an abbreviation for lender-paid mortgage insurance. As the name suggests, the lender pays the monthly premium at the expense of a higher interest rate.
  3. Single-premium mortgage insurance (PMI): This kind of PMI aggregates the entire cost of the insurance into a single payment. Depending on the loan terms, you may pay this in full at closing or roll it into the loan for a higher amount. This choice can be included with seller paid closing costs.
  4. Split-premium mortgage insurance: In a split-premium PMI plan, you pay an upfront fee that covers a part of the costs, reducing your monthly payments.

Homeowners Protection Act (HPA)

The federal Homeowners Protection Act (HPA) provides for the elimination of Private Mortgage Insurance in certain circumstances (PMI).

If you have paid down the loan to the point where PMI is no longer necessary, you should either stop paying it or seek a refund if you paid the whole amount up front.
Currently, the Homeowners Protection Act requires lenders to cancel PMI when the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent of the property's worth at the time of the loan (if the borrower does not request cancellation) or 80 percent if the borrower does request cancellation.

Inquire about cancellation alternatives before taking out a loan, and then contact your lender as soon as the loan-to-value ratio hits 80% or less to cancel it.
More information on PMI cancellation is provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Piggyback Financing

The piggyback loan is a way to meet the lending requirement of 80% without paying private mortgage insurance.

Here's how the piggyback loan can eliminate private mortgage insurance. The second loan of 5% to 20% is piggybacked onto the first mortgage to form a mortgage package that enables the borrower to purchase the home with less than 20% down and, in some instances, with no down at all.

The second loan has a higher interest rate than the first but is often less expensive than the first, with an interest rate of over 80%, with private mortgage insurance.

Compare the piggyback's higher interest rate to the cost of private mortgage insurance. Remember that private mortgage insurance is waived if the loan balance exceeds 80% of the loan value. The increased interest rate on the piggyback loan will apply for the duration of the loan.

In most instances, the monthly payment on the piggyback loan will be less than the monthly payment on the PM! If you use the savings to make extra principal payments on your existing mortgage, you may significantly decrease the loan's term and total interest paid throughout the loan's life.


Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is vital to the mortgage market since it enables borrowers to get a mortgage with a lesser down payment. PMI protects lenders against default, allowing them to lend to more borrowers, even those without large down payments. Prospective homeowners and borrowers must understand PMI and its obligations. PMI is required for typical mortgages with down payments under 20%.

PMI is usually abolished when the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio exceeds 78%. By understanding these criteria and timetables, borrowers may plan their homeownership journey. PMI allows low-down-payment homeownership, but there are other options. Piggyback loans, lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI), and FHA loan choices like Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) provide borrowers with more options.

Individuals and families may make financial decisions that meet their objectives by weighing alternatives. In conclusion, PMI helps people and families accomplish their goal of house ownership in the mortgage sector. By knowing PMI's purpose, regulations, and calculating methodologies, borrowers may confidently purchase a house and explore homeownership options.


Recommended Reading
FHA Approved Condos in Pennsylvania
FHA Loan Calculator: How much will my payment be in PA?

FHA Loan for a Mobile Home