GUIDES & RESOURCES

Lenders Mortgage Insurance Australia

You will likely be charged Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) if you need to borrow more than 80% of the purchase price of your new home.
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Lender’s mortgage insurance is a common cost for many home buyers, on top of their home loan deposit. We’ll take you through the ins and outs of how it works.

What is lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI)?

LMI is typically added on to some home loans in order to help protect the lender from any losses if the borrower has to default on their home loan repayments.

It also means that some lenders can approve larger loan amounts and more home loan applications if they’re protected by LMI.

When would I need to pay for LMI?

If your home loan deposit is less than 20% of the value of your property, or if your loan to value ratio is higher than 80%, then you may need to pay for LMI.

If I need LMI, how would I pay for it?

Many lenders add this cost into your home loan, which means you could also be charged interest on this along with your standard home loan repayments.

What factors can affect LMI?

  1. The loan amount

    Generally speaking, the more money you borrow from a lender, the higher the risk would be of you defaulting on your repayments. If this happens, there could be a potential financial loss to the lender.

  2. Your deposit amount

    If you provide a relatively small deposit ( anything less than 20%) then it’s likely you need to take out LMI . Again, this comes down to how much risk the lender would be taking with a new customer.

  3. Are you an owner-occupier or investor?

    This isn’t the case with all lenders, but some may charge a higher LMI premium for people who are buying an investment property rather than one they’re going to live in themselves. For some lenders, owner-occupiers are a lower risk than an investor, so ask your lender what their policy is.

  4. What’s your employment status?

    Some lenders perceive full-time employees as lower-risk and favour them for approval on new home loans.

  5. Your lender’s insurer

    As there are many lenders on the market providing home loans, there are also many LMI insurance providers, so your LMI premium could also be affected by what your lender’s chosen insurer charges them.

  6. Your profession

    Home loan applicants in certain professions may not need to pay LMI so long as their LVR isn’t above 90%. These professions may include medical professionals, accountants, lawyers and more. Check with your lender if this applies to your profession.

Could LMI help protect me in case I default on my home loan?

No, LMI is purely to reduce the risk of loss for the lender. If you’re looking for personal protection, there are separate policies such as mortgage protection insurance that may assist.

How can I lower my LMI?

There are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of paying too much LMI on top of your home loan.

  1. Keep saving until you can afford to deposit 20% of the total property value.

    If you can provide a deposit of more than 20% for the property you’d like to purchase, then you generally won’t need to pay LMI. You’ll need to budget well and weigh up the pros and cons of waiting a longer period of time to buy your home.

    By providing a deposit of 20% of the total property value or more, you could make significant savings in repayments over the lifetime of your home loan.

  2. Ask a parent or family member to be your home loan guarantor.

    Asking someone to be your home loan guarantor is a big responsibility, because they would be the person who would need to pay off your loan in the event where you’re no longer able to do so.

    Lenders are happy to do this because it removes a lot of risk for them, but there can be a lot of pressure on the guarantor.

  3. Apply for the Federal Government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS).

    Eligible first home buyers can supply a deposit of 5% under the FHLDS. Learn more about the FHLDS here.

    If you’re eligible and successful, then under this scheme, the Federal Government helps provide cover for the additional deposit amount needed to reach the 20% threshold.

  4. Compare LMI premiums when you’re comparing home loans.

    You can ask your prospective lender to give you an estimate of the LMI premium when you inquire about a home loan, as this could differ between lenders.

Where can I compare home loans?

At iSelect we’ve partnered with Lendi to make it easier to find a great deal on your home loan. Click here to get started comparing from a range of lenders online, or give Lendi a call on 1300 186 260.

Last updated: 15/03/2022

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