How Much is PMI on a Conventional Loan?

A pen lying on top of private mortgage insurance papersIf you're considering applying for a mortgage with less than 20% down, private mortgage insurance (PMI) will likely come up. PMI adds extra costs to your monthly payment, so it is vital to understand how it's calculated and how much it will be. This guide examines what impacts PMI rates, typical price ranges, and tips for minimizing premiums.

Key Takeaways on PMI Costs

  • PMI rates range from 0.5% to 1% of the total mortgage loan amount on average.
  • Factors like your down payment, credit score, and loan amount impact your exact PMI costs.
  • Paying PMI upfront or avoiding it altogether may make sense, depending on your situation.
  • Shop lenders, improve your credit, and repay the loan faster to reduce monthly PMI costs.
  • Hitting 20% home equity allows you to request private mortgage insurance cancellation.

What Factors Determine Your PMI Rate?

Several variables influence how much you'll pay in private mortgage insurance premiums:

  • Down payment amount: The lower the down payment, the higher the PMI rate. With less equity invested, there is more risk.
  • Loan amount: PMI premiums are based on a percentage of the total loan amount. The higher the loan, the greater the PMI cost.
  • Credit score: Borrowers with lower credit scores are charged higher PMI rates. Excellent credit reduces premiums.
  • Type of mortgage: Government-backed FHA loans have different mortgage insurance costs than conventional PMI.
  • Lender: Some lenders offer discounted PMI rates or lender-paid options to attract borrowers.
  • Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio: The higher the LTV, the higher the mortgage insurance premiums charged.

What is the Typical Cost Range for PMI?

Based on your qualifications, private mortgage insurance rates can range from 0.31% to 1.86% of the loan amount. The average cost for PMI falls between 0.5% and 1% of the total loan amount per year.

For example, on a $200,000 conventional loan with 5% down, you may pay an annual PMI premium of $1,200 (0.6% of the loan amount). This equals about $100 extra per month over the regular mortgage payment.

On a $400,000 loan with a 10% down payment, the PMI could be around $2,400 annually at a 0.6% rate, or $200 per month: the more substantial loan amount and lower down payment equal higher PMI costs.

How Are Monthly Pmi Premiums Calculated?

To calculate the monthly PMI premiums, divide the initial mortgage loan amount by 12 months and use the yearly PMI rate.

For example:

  • $200,000 Mortgage
  • 0.5% PMI rate
  • $200,000 x 0.005 = $1,000 annual PMI premium
  • $1,000 / 12 Months = $83 Monthly PMI Payment

This $83 would be added to the monthly principal and interest mortgage payment. Paying more upfront or having better credit could reduce that monthly PMI cost.

Can You Ever Pay Pmi Upfront?

Some lenders allow borrowers to pay for private mortgage insurance upfront in a single payment at closing rather than in monthly installments.

Paying PMI upfront may make sense if you can secure a discount on the total amount. Just be sure you have the cash to cover the lump sum.

How Can I Avoid Paying PMI?

The best ways to avoid PMI include:

  • Saving a 20% down payment
  • Looking into lender-paid PMI programs
  • Considering government-backed loans like FHA, VA, and USDA
  • Taking a piggyback loan or "80-10-10" structure

While it is possible to avoid it, PMI can give you the flexibility to buy sooner with less than 20% down if needed. Crunch the numbers to see if the premiums are worth it.

How Can I Get a Lower PMI Rate?

If you have to pay PMI, a few ways to potentially qualify for a lower rate include:

  • Shop lenders to compare rates.
  • Opt for a higher credit score.
  • Put down more cash upfront.
  • Seek out discounts for automatic payments or new customers.
  • Buy down the pace with points at closing if it is cost-effective long-term.

When Does PMI Get Removed From Your Loan?

Most lenders let you request the cancellation of PMI once you have built up 20% of your home equity through payments or appreciation. An appraisal confirms the current value and equity.

Paying down the loan faster through extra payments or recasting can help you reach 20% equity quicker and stop paying PMI sooner.

Frequently Asked Questions About PMI Expense

Q: How much will PMI cost me?

PMI costs vary depending on several factors, including your credit score and the size of your down payment. Typically, PMI costs between 0.5% and 1% of the total mortgage amount per year.

Q: What is private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is a type of insurance that protects the lender if the borrower defaults on the mortgage. It is required for conventional mortgages when the borrower makes a down payment of less than 20%.

Q: How can I get rid of PMI?

There are a few ways to get rid of PMI. One option is to make extra payments to pay down your mortgage balance until it reaches 80% of the original value of your home. You can also request that your lender remove the PMI once your home advances 20% equity.

Q: How is PMI calculated?

PMI is calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and the borrower's credit score. The LTV is the ratio of the mortgage amount to the home's appraised value. A higher LTV and lower credit score will result in a higher PMI premium.

Q: Can I avoid PMI?

A: Yes, you can avoid PMI by making a down payment of 20% or more on a conventional mortgage. Another option is to take out a second mortgage to cover the remaining balance, which may not be cost-effective in the long run.

Q: How do I cancel PMI?

You can request to cancel PMI once your home reaches 20% equity. However, some lenders may require you to maintain PMI for a certain period, usually a few years, regardless of your equity.

Q: What are the different types of mortgage insurance?

There are two main types of mortgage insurance: borrower-paid PMI and lender-paid PMI. With borrower-paid PMI, the borrower pays the premium as part of their monthly mortgage payment. With lender-paid PMI, the lender pays the bonus but typically charges a slightly higher interest rate.

Q: Will PMI automatically be removed once I reach an 80% loan-to-value ratio?

No, PMI is not automatically removed once you reach an 80% loan-to-value ratio. You will need to request its cancellation from your mortgage servicer.

Q: How does PMI affect my mortgage rate?

PMI does not directly affect your mortgage rate. However, it is often included in your monthly mortgage payment, increasing housing costs.

Q: How much does mortgage insurance protect the lender?

Mortgage insurance protects the lender up to a certain percentage, typically 20%, of the loan amount. If the borrower defaults and the home sale proceeds are insufficient to cover the remaining balance, the mortgage insurance kicks in to reimburse the lender.


Understanding how PMI premiums are calculated empowers you to estimate your costs accurately and identify ways to optimize your payments.

Termination of Conventional Mortgage Insurance
Mortgage Insurance Coverage Requirements