Best Options For Private Mortgage Insurance

Best Options for Private Mortgage Insurance
Private Mortgage Insurance PMI form with pen.

Best Options For Private Mortgage Insurance – It is no longer news that Private Mortgage Insurance provides protection to the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan, it can be an additional expense for the homeowner. Purchasing a home is a significant milestone in many people’s lives, but it often comes with the added cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Best Options for Private Mortgage Insurance

Private Mortage Insurance is typically required by lenders when a homebuyer puts down less than 20% of the home’s purchase price.

Fortunately, there are alternative options to private mortgage insurance that can help homebuyers save money in the long run.


In this article, we will explore four alternative options to Private Mortgage Insurance and their benefits.

  •  Making a 20% Down Payment

One of the most straightforward ways to avoid PMI is to make a down payment of at least 20% of the home’s purchase price. By putting down 20%, homebuyers can bypass the need for mortgage insurance altogether. This option offers several advantages.

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Benefits of a 20% Down Payment

1. Lower Monthly Payments:

With a 20% down payment, homebuyers can secure a mortgage with a lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. This leads to reduced monthly mortgage payments.

  • No PMI Costs:

Since the loan-to-value ratio is 80% or lower, lenders do not require PMI.

  • Build Equity Faster:

A larger down payment means starting with more equity in the home, allowing homeowners to build equity at a faster rate.

  • Improved Loan Terms:

Lenders may offer more favorable interest rates and loan terms to borrowers who make substantial down payments.

  •  Saving Strategies to Reach a 20% Down Payment

Saving for a 20% down payment requires discipline and careful financial planning.

Here are some strategies to help potential homebuyers achieve this goal:

  • Create a Budget: Assess your monthly income and expenses to identify areas where you can cut back and save more.
  • Automate Savings: Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account.
  • Reduce Debts: Pay off high-interest debts to free up more funds for savings
  • Increase Income: Consider taking on a side job or freelancing to boost your income and accelerate your savings.
  • Cut Expenses: Look for ways to reduce unnecessary expenses, such as dining out less frequently or canceling unused subscriptions.
  • Downsize temporarily: If feasible, consider downsizing your living arrangements temporarily to save on rent or mortgage payments.

Remember, reaching a 20% down payment may take time and effort, but the benefits of avoiding PMI and saving on monthly payments can be well worth it in the long run.
2.  Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI)

Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI) is another alternative to traditional PMI. With LPMI, the lender pays the mortgage insurance premium on behalf of the borrower, eliminating the need for the homeowner to make monthly PMI payments.

How Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance Works

In LPMI, the lender includes the cost of the mortgage insurance premium in the interest rate of the loan. This results in a slightly higher interest rate compared to loans with borrower-paid PMI. The lender pays the mortgage insurance premium upfront, and in return, the borrower benefits from a lower monthly mortgage payment.

Like any financial option, LPMI has its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of LPMI:
  • No Monthly PMI Payments:

With LPMI, homeowners do not have to make separate monthly payments for mortgage insurance.

  • Lower Monthly Payments:

By incorporating the mortgage insurance premium into the interest rate, borrowers can enjoy lower monthly mortgage payments.

  • Potential Tax Benefits:

In some cases, the interest paid on the higher interest rate with LPMI may be tax-deductible, providing potential tax advantages.

Cons of LPMI:
  • Higher Interest Rates:

LPMI loans usually have slightly higher interest rates compared to traditional loans with PMI.

  • Limited Lender Options:

Not all lenders offer LPMI, so it may be necessary to shop around and compare offers.

  • Longer Loan Repayment:

The increased interest rate with LPMI can result in a longer overall repayment period for the loan.

Homebuyers considering LPMI should carefully evaluate the potential long-term costs and benefits to determine if this option aligns with their financial goals.

 3. Split-Premium Mortgage Insurance

Split-Premium Mortgage Insurance is another alternative to private mortgage insurance that can help borrowers save money. With split-premium MI, the mortgage insurance premium is split into two parts: an upfront premium and a monthly premium.

Split-premium MI allows borrowers to pay a portion of the mortgage insurance premium upfront at closing, reducing the monthly premium amount. This option provides flexibility in managing the costs associated with mortgage insurance.

Advantages of Split-Premium MI
  • Lower Monthly Premiums:

By paying a portion of the premium upfront, borrowers can enjoy reduced monthly mortgage insurance payments.

  • Potential Savings:

Split-premium MI can be more cost-effective in the long run compared to traditional PMI or LPMI options.

  • Flexibility:

Splitting the premium between upfront and monthly payments provides borrowers with more control over their mortgage insurance costs.

Disadvantages of Split-Premium MI:
  • Higher Upfront Costs:

Paying a portion of the premium at closing means a larger upfront expense for homebuyers.

  • Loan Balance Impact:

Splitting the premium may result in a slightly higher loan balance, which can affect the overall cost of the loan.

Homebuyers should weigh the upfront costs against the potential long-term savings when considering split-premium MI as an alternative to private mortgage insurance.

4. Piggyback Loans

Piggyback loans, also known as 80-10-10 or 80-15-5 loans, provide an alternative to PMI by combining a first mortgage with a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC). This option allows borrowers to avoid paying PMI while still providing a smaller down payment.

Understanding Piggyback Loans

Piggyback loans involve taking out two loans simultaneously: a first mortgage for 80% of the home’s purchase price, a second mortgage or HELOC for the remaining amount, and a down payment ranging from 5% to 20%. The combination of these loans helps borrowers avoid PMI.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Piggyback Loans

Benefits of Piggyback Loans
  • Avoidance of PMI:

By combining two loans, borrowers can bypass the need for private mortgage insurance.

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Flexible Down Payment Options:

Piggyback loans offer flexibility in down payment amounts, allowing borrowers to choose a lower down payment while still avoiding PMI.

Potentially Lower Costs:

Depending on interest rates and terms, piggyback loans may be more cost-effective than traditional PMI options in the long run.

Drawbacks of Piggyback Loans:

Higher Interest Rates:

The second mortgage or HELOC typically carries a higher interest rate compared to the first mortgage.


Managing two loans simultaneously can be more complex than having a single mortgage.

Risk of Negative Equity:

If property values decline, borrowers with piggyback loans may be at a higher risk of negative equity due to the combined loan amounts.

Homebuyers considering piggyback loans should carefully assess the long-term costs, including interest rates and potential risks, to determine if this option aligns with their financial situation and goals.


Private mortgage insurance (PMI) can add significant costs to homeownership, especially for those who are unable to make a 20% down payment. However, several alternative options can help borrowers avoid or reduce the need for PMI. Making a 20% down payment is the most straightforward option, providing benefits such as lower monthly payments and the elimination of PMI costs.

Lender-paid mortgage insurance (LPMI) shifts the burden of PMI to the lender, resulting in lower monthly payments for the borrower. Split-premium mortgage insurance allows borrowers to pay a portion of the premium upfront, reducing monthly costs. Piggyback loans combine multiple loans to avoid PMI, offering flexibility in down payment amounts.

Each alternative option has its own advantages and considerations, and it’s crucial to evaluate them based on your financial situation and goals. Factors such as interest rates, upfront costs, loan terms, and potential risks should be carefully considered. It’s recommended to work with reputable lenders and consult with mortgage professionals who can guide you through the options and help you make informed decisions.

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