What Is Lenders Mortgage Insurance And How Is It Calculated?

Are you eager to enter the real estate market but lack the funds for a sufficient down payment? Are you a self-employed professional or run a small business and finding it difficult to demonstrate to lenders that you have a cash flow?

If you said yes to either of the above questions, don’t despair; you might still have a chance to buy your dream home.

Homeowners who make a down payment of less than 20% are generally required to pay mortgage property insurance. Borrowers may use this method to learn how lenders’ mortgage insurance works and how much they can anticipate paying for a house in Australia or overseas.

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) enables you to buy a home faster, but you must first learn what it is and how it works, its advantages, risks it entails, and how it is calculated.

Lender Mortgage Insurance Explained

Lenders mortgage insurance (or LMI) is a policy that safeguards the mortgage lender against losses incurred if the borrower is unable to make loan repayments (an occurrence known as a “default” on the house loan). 

LMI protects your lender if you default on your mortgage property insurance and there is a “shortfall.” A deficit occurs when the revenues from the sale of your house are insufficient to satisfy the amount owed to your lender. 

Your lender may be able to recoup the shortfall from the LMI insurance provider, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. The LMI provider may request reimbursement from you for the deficit amount.

You must pay the insurance premium if LMI is necessary. But it’s crucial to understand that even if you pay for it, LMI doesn’t offer you any protection, it only safeguards your lender.

Typically, it is a one-time payment made by the borrower at the end of the loan period. Here are some LMI facts:

  • LMI is a form of insurance that you should anticipate to pay if you borrow more than 80% of the value of your property.
  • Lenders are protected by LMI, not borrowers.
  • You do not need to organise LMI on your own; your lender will do it for you.
  • A larger deposit might help you save money on LMI.

How Is It Calculated?

LMI is computed as a % of the amount you borrow using an LMI calculator. It will differ based on your Loan amount to Value Ratio (LVR) and the amount you intend to owe.

The fraction you will pay rises as the LVR & amount of loan rise, and it generally rises in phases. One can conveniently evaluate LMI by simply searching “lenders mortgage insurance calculator” on the internet.

LMI rates vary based on the loan amount, lender, and LMI supplier. Some financial organisations can insure transactions by themselves till a specified LVR.

The following factors can also influence the cost of LMI:

  • If the house is owner-occupied or not, it is considered that if it is also your home, you are less likely to fail on a loan.
  • If you work for yourself or as a PAYG employee.
  • If you have actual savings or not.
  • If you qualify for the First Home Owner Grant or not (FHOG).

For these reasons, an actual cost of LMI cannot be determined until a house and lender are chosen, and it may be a flat price of a lot of money.

The LMI premium is a one-time, non-refundable charge that is paid at the end of the loan period. Most lenders will allow you to include the LMI charge in the amount borrowed. If the LMI is included in the mortgage balance, the borrower will pay interest on the loan amount and the monthly minimum interest payments will be increased.

Although the borrower pays for it, LMI is managed by the lender, not the borrower. Each lender has their own regulation about when and how much LMI is expected. The premium is not transferable if a borrower refinances their loan. A new premium must be paid if LMI is required on the second mortgage.

How Does LMI Work?

If a homeowner falls behind on their EMI mortgage payments, LMI allows the lender to recoup their losses by repossessing the property to which the loan is secured. However, if the property value has dropped, the lender may lose a great deal. This is the danger that LMI protects against.

Lenders are more likely to accept loans with a larger loan-to-value ratio (LVR), frequently up to a maximum of 95 per cent of the estate’s worth or selling price, now that the risk of loss has been passed on to the lender’s mortgage insurer (whichever is lower).

Let’s understand this with an example,

Assume you defaulted on your house loan and there is still $500,000 owed. Your lender then sells the house to collect this money, but they only receive $430,000 when the house is sold.

This equates to a $70,000 deficit.

In this situation, your lender may seek reimbursement from the LMI provider for the deficit. The LMI provider may seek to recover the $70,000 deficit from you. In other words, LMI just protects the lender and does not protect you at all.

The lender chooses which LMI supplier to use; the borrower has no say in the matter. While LMI solely protects the lender, the borrower is generally required to pay for it. Paying for insurance coverage that solely protects a financial institution appears to many to be the worst kind of philanthropy.

Which Is Better: LMI Or Extra Savings?

On one hand, you may be eager to enter the real estate market because you are afraid that home prices will rise. In this situation, if your down-payment is insufficient, you may choose to pay LMI in order to purchase your first house sooner.

On the other hand, you could be content to wait a year or so while you accumulate more money for a down payment. The larger your deposit, the less probable it is for you to have to pay for LMI.

The appropriate response will differ based on your own conditions and objectives.

Many first-time buyers argue whether it is preferable to pay LMI or wait until they have put up a larger deposit. Because every house buyer’s circumstance is different – and the property market may be unpredictable – there is no correct or incorrect solution. You must choose the ideal option for you, hence why property and home loan advice from a home loan broker is so important.

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