How Much is Mortgage Insurance on a Conventional Loan?

A pen lying on top of private mortgage insurance papersAre you considering taking out a conventional loan for your home purchase but are unsure about how much mortgage insurance will cost you? In this article, we will delve into the details of how mortgage insurance works on a conventional loan and provide you with insights on the costs involved. Read on to learn more about how much mortgage insurance on a conventional loan can impact your home buying journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Mortgage insurance is required for conventional loans with less than a 20% down payment.
  • Factors affecting mortgage insurance costs include loan-to-value ratio, credit score, and property type.
  • A formula based on the loan amount and loan-to-value ratio can calculate mortgage insurance premiums.
  • Comparing mortgage insurance rates from different lenders can save borrowers money.
  • Strategies to reduce mortgage insurance costs include increasing down payments, improving credit scores, and choosing a lower-rate lender.

What is a Conventional Loan?

The federal government does not insure or guarantee a conventional loan—private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies, instead back conventional loans. Conventional loans are typically considered the "standard" type of mortgage, and they are often the preferred choice for borrowers with a strong credit history and a down payment of at least 20% of the home's value.

One key difference between conventional loans and other loan types, such as FHA or VA loans, is the down payment requirement. While FHA and VA loans may allow for down payments as low as 3.5% and 0%, conventional loans generally require a down payment of at least 20% of the home's value. This higher down payment requirement can make conventional loans less accessible for some borrowers, particularly first-time homebuyers or those with limited savings.

However, conventional loans also offer several advantages over other loan types. For instance, conventional loans typically have lower mortgage insurance premiums, and borrowers may be able to avoid mortgage insurance altogether if they make a down payment of 20% or more.

Additionally, conventional loans may offer more flexibility regarding loan terms, interest rates, and other features, allowing borrowers to tailor the loan to their specific needs and financial goals. The decision to pursue a conventional loan versus another loan type will depend on the borrower's circumstances and preferences.

Factors Affecting Mortgage Insurance Costs

The cost of mortgage insurance on a conventional loan can vary significantly depending on several key factors, such as the down payment amount. Borrowers who make a larger down payment, typically 20% or more, may be able to avoid mortgage insurance altogether. However, for those who make a down payment of less than 20%, the mortgage insurance premium will be a crucial component of their monthly mortgage payment.

Another critical factor that affects mortgage insurance costs is the borrower's credit score and credit history. Borrowers with higher credit scores and a strong credit history are generally considered lower risk, and as a result, they may qualify for lower mortgage insurance premiums. Conversely, borrowers with lower credit scores or financial difficulties may face higher mortgage insurance costs.

The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which is the ratio of the loan amount to the home's value, is also a significant factor in determining mortgage insurance costs. Borrowers with a higher LTV ratio, meaning they have a smaller down payment, will typically pay higher mortgage insurance premiums. Additionally, the location and type of the property can influence mortgage insurance costs, as some geographic regions or property types may be considered higher risk by insurance providers.

By understanding these key factors, borrowers can better anticipate and plan for the mortgage insurance costs associated with their conventional loan. This knowledge can help them make more informed decisions about home purchase and financing options.

Calculating Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Calculating mortgage insurance premiums on a conventional loan involves several formulas and methods. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, the ratio of the loan amount to the home's value, is the primary factor in these calculations. The higher the LTV ratio, the higher the mortgage insurance premium will typically be.

Mortgage insurance premiums typically represent a percentage of the loan amount, and the borrower can choose to pay them as a one-time upfront fee or as a monthly premium that supplements their mortgage payment. The formula for calculating the premium may vary depending on the mortgage insurance provider, but it typically considers the LTV ratio, the borrower's credit score, and other risk factors.

For instance, the mortgage insurance premium for a borrower with a 90% LTV ratio and a credit score 720 might be 0.55% of the loan amount. This would translate to a monthly premium of $55 on a $200,000 loan. On the other hand, a borrower with a 95% LTV ratio and a credit score 680 might face a higher premium of 0.80%, leading to a monthly premium of $80 on the same $200,000 loan.

It's important to note that the factors influencing mortgage insurance premiums can change over time. Borrowers should always consult with their lender or mortgage insurance provider to obtain the most up-to-date information on the costs associated with their specific loan scenario.

By understanding the factors and formulas used to calculate mortgage insurance premiums, borrowers can better plan for and manage the overall costs of their conventional loan.

Strategies to Reduce Mortgage Insurance Costs

Increasing the down payment amount is one effective strategy to reduce private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs. By putting down a more significant sum upfront, borrowers can decrease their loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which typically leads to lower PMI premiums. 

Additionally, improving one's credit score and credit history can also result in reduced PMI expenses. Lenders often offer lower insurance rates to borrowers with higher credit scores, considering them less risky.

Refinancing to achieve a lower LTV ratio is another viable tactic. If a borrower's home has appreciated or they've made substantial principal payments, refinancing can help secure a more favorable PMI rate. 

Lastly, exploring alternative loan options such as FHA or VA loans, which may have more lenient PMI terms or even waive PMI requirements, can benefit those seeking to minimize PMI costs.

How Mortgage Insurance Affects Monthly Payments

Mortgage insurance is a significant component of a borrower's monthly mortgage payment and can substantially impact the overall cost of the loan. When a borrower obtains a conventional loan with less than a 20% down payment, the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) portion typically includes the monthly mortgage insurance premium.

To illustrate the impact of mortgage insurance on monthly payments, let's consider a hypothetical example. Suppose a borrower is purchasing a $300,000 home with a 10% down payment, resulting in a loan amount of $270,000. Assuming a 4.5% interest rate and a mortgage insurance premium of 0.60% of the loan amount, the monthly mortgage payment would be approximately $1,600, with the mortgage insurance premium accounting for around $135.

In contrast, if the same borrower could make a 20% down payment, they would not be required to pay mortgage insurance, and their monthly payment would be approximately $1,400, a difference of $200 per month. Over the life of a 30-year mortgage, this difference in monthly payments can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings for the borrower.

The long-term implications of mortgage insurance on overall loan costs can be significant. Requiring borrowers to pay mortgage insurance may result in higher total interest and fees over the loan's life, as the premiums contribute to the loan's overall cost. This can make it more challenging for borrowers to build home equity and may impact their ability to refinance or sell the property.

By understanding the impact of mortgage insurance on their monthly payments and overall loan costs, borrowers can make more informed decisions about their home purchase and financing options, potentially saving themselves thousands of dollars in the long run.

Alternatives to Conventional Loans with Mortgage Insurance

One alternative to conventional loans with mortgage insurance is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. These loans require a lower down payment, typically around 3.5%, and have more flexible credit requirements than conventional loans. However,

FHA loans have their own mortgage insurance premium (MIP), which can be higher than the PMI associated with conventional loans. 

Another option is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan, available to eligible military members, veterans, and their spouses. VA loans do not require a down payment and do not have mortgage insurance requirements, making them an attractive option for those who qualify.

Additionally, borrowers can consider the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-)---backed loans designed for low-income borrowers in rural areas. While USDA loans require mortgage insurance, the premiums are generally lower than those of conventional loans. 

Finally, jumbo loans may be an option for borrowers purchasing higher-value properties. These loans exceed the conforming loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and may require a larger down payment, but they typically do not require mortgage insurance.


In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of mortgage insurance on a conventional loan is essential for prospective homebuyers. By gaining insights into the costs involved, you can make informed decisions that align with your financial goals and aspirations. It is crucial to factor in these expenses when calculating your overall budget for purchasing a home, as they can significantly impact your monthly payments and long-term financial stability.

We hope this article has shed light on the importance of considering mortgage insurance costs and how they may affect your home buying journey. Take the time to explore different options and consult with a financial advisor to make the best choices for your individual circumstances.

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