If your down payment is less than 20% you’ll need mortgage insurance. You won’t have mortgage insurance forever though, as it does drop off after you get the loan balance down below 78 to 80% of the purchase price.

The reason it exists is to allow a lender to make homeownership possible for people without the cash for a traditional 20% down payment, by reducing the lender’s financial risk.

Mortgage Insurance may be applicable on a refinance if the LTV is more than 80%.
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