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Mortgage Life Insurance 101

February 04, 2015 | Posted by Nathan Zacharias | Tagged in

Mortgage life insurance is a straightforward and somewhat self-explanatory concept.

Remember, taking on a mortgage is a huge financial commitment – the largest financial obligation you will make in your life. It’s also a major obligation for the lender, in that they are showing a certain degree of trust that the mortgage applicant will be able to make all of the regular monthly payments.

But what happens in case of a catastrophe?

This is where mortgage life insurance comes in.

Mortgage life insurance is meant to guard the ownership of your home in case of a death or disability injury. When such events strike, they’re not only are catastrophic for the victim, but also make paying off the mortgage impossible due to lost income.

Simply put, mortgage life insurance is insurance for your mortgage loan commitment. The recipient of this insurance – which many banks insist upon before new home owners get a mortgage – will pay regular premiums over the term and in exchange get peace of mind that even in the face of calamity, they and their family will be able to maintain ownership of the home.

Mortgage life insurance considerations

Mortgage life insurance is different than other forms of life insurance in that the premiums may not be weighed as heavily on suchindividual factors such as the applicant’s age or health, but rather by the duration, and size of the mortgage. Mortgage life insurance can also be purchased from a life insurance agent, who in many instances are more knowledgeable about this kind of insurance than banks, and, even from some mortgage brokers who hold a special exempt license so don’t forget to ask your broker!

Other differences

Life insurance for your mortgage differs from conventional insurance products in other ways.

  • Mortgage life insurance offered by banks can usually not be transferred to another lender. In other words, if you move before your insurance term is finished, you may not be able to move the coverage with you to the new property which could result in higher premiums when you have to underwrite new coverage on the new property. This is an area where some brokerages have been able secure special mortgage life products which can be ported, so be sure to ask around!
  • Mortgage insurance cannot easily be bundled with other insurance policies. This means it is more difficult to find a better deal on the premiums by combining it with other types of insurance, so multiple comparisons may be warranted.
  • Premiums do not change over time. As your mortgage balance is paid down, the value of your mortgage life insurance does not decrease, even though the amount it is insuring does. For this reason many mortgagors give serious thought to term life insurance as an alternative.
  • Mortgage insurance lasts in most cases for the duration of the mortgage, or for what might be referred to as the amortization period (not to be confused with mortgage term), and will have to be renewed with subsequent mortgages.