Real Estate Glossary

What is Mortgage Insurance?

Mortgage insurance is a type of insurance that lenders require from borrowers who have less than a 20% down payment on their home. The insurance protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan. There are two types of mortgage insurance: private mortgage insurance (PMI) and government-backed mortgage insurance. PMI is provided by private companies, while government-backed mortgage insurance is provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The cost of mortgage insurance is typically added to the borrower's monthly mortgage payment.