Category: House & Home
Chapter Select
Sub category: Buy
6 September 2018

The low-down on lenders’ mortgage insurance

If you find the perfect place but your savings aren’t quite 20% of the property purchase price, lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) could help get you over the line when getting a home loan. So let’s take a look at what it means and when you might use it.

What, exactly, is LMI?

LMI is an insurance that protects the lender in case you default on your home loan, and the property sale isn’t high enough to cover what you owe. You pay the cost of the insurance, either upfront or finance it under your loan.

With LMI, lenders may let you borrow with a smaller deposit (as low as 5% for many lenders). So if you’re feeling as though that 20% deposit is simply taking too long to save, LMI could be your ticket into home ownership.

How much does it cost?

A few things affect how much LMI you might have to pay. The two main factors are:

  • The size of the home loan you’re after
  • The size of your deposit
  • The value of the property.

Also worth noting is that:

  • a larger loan will increase the cost of LMI – as will a smaller deposit
  • depending on the insurer, the premiums could be affected by whether you plan to live in the property or rent it out, and whether you work full-time or casual
  • and like any insurance, the premiums can vary from one insurer to the next.

Given that everyone’s situation is different and there are so many variables at play, we can’t say exactly how much LMI might cost for you. Your best bet is to ask for an LMI estimate when you speak to your lender.

On the matter of paying, most lenders let you add the cost of LMI to your home loan – you don’t need to pay for it upfront. Just be aware that, if it’s tacked on to your home loan, then you’ll pay interest on the LMI for the term of your loan, and you’ll be able to contribute less of your loan amount to the actual purchase price of the house.

Why pay LMI?

Think of LMI as a potential pathway into home ownership a little earlier. Yes, it’s an added cost on your home loan, but it could mean that you jump onto the ladder before property prices surge skywards again.

For many first home buyers, it’s a matter of weighing up whether the cost of LMI will be less than the cost and effort of saving up that 20% deposit. And given the unpredictable nature of the property market, there’s no black-and-white answer. Sometimes, paying LMI and buying a property sooner will pay off in the long run – sometimes, it may not.

You’ll need to consider your personal pros and cons for LMI before you decide whether you want to bite the bullet and pay for it, or keep on saving.

To get an estimate of how much LMI will cost you, you can speak to an ING home loan specialist on
1800 267 809.
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The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.

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