LMI is an insurance policy which compensates lenders or investors for losses due to the default of a mortgage loan.
As required by Australian banks, Borrowers’ who have less than 20% deposit of the property purchase price are charged LMI by finance lenders this is an extra cost over and above the standard fees and charges related to purchasing.
The LMI premium is arranged by the lender, not the borrower, but is payable by the borrower and is calculated on a percentage of the purchase price.
As the purchaser, you need to make sure you’re happy to pay it because these rates can be expensive to cover for riskier loans.
Can I include LMI in the loan amount?
Yes, for most lenders the LMI fee can be included in the loan amount, however you need to be aware that if LMI is added into the home loan it will make the total amount borrowed higher and thus the borrower will pay interest on the total loan and will also increase the minimum monthly loan repayments.
What are the risks?
Remember, mortgage insurance protects lenders not borrowers in the event of ‘default on mortgage’. You need to be aware that in case of a loan default, LMI covers the lender for any shortfall.
Many borrowers mistakenly believe that LMI is designed to protect the borrower if the borrower is unable to meet their mortgage repayments and the property has to be sold for less than the loan.
LMI does not cover the borrower for any shortfall after paying out the bank and the insurance provider will pursue you for the balance.
Some borrowers have declared bankruptcy after being pursued by insurance providers.
Often LMI is confused with Mortgage Protection Insurance, which is a different product entirely and does cover the borrower.
Be careful including LMI in your home loan as you will incur interest on the premium and this will not only increase the total amount you owe but also increase your mortgage repayments.
It is very important to do your due diligence, factor in potential future interest rate increases, and get the correct professional legal and financial advice before you sign up to any loan.
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