Do I have to pay LMI as a lump payment?

Do I have to pay LMI as a lump payment?
Do I have to pay LMI as a lump payment?

Hi Margaret,

I just settled and was having a look at the settlement and saw lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) was charged as a lump sump straight out.

I would have preferred that LMI payment to be added on to the loan.

Can I change this now and how can I do this in future?

Should I wait next time so I don’t have to pay any LMI?

Kind regards,

B.

Margaret's answer on the next page. Please click below.


Hi B,

LMI, also known as lender’s mortgage insurance, is a policy which is taken out by the bank, on your behalf, on any loans where the amount of that loan is greater than 80% of the total value of the property you are buying. 

The purpose of LMI is for the protection of the bank – if for some reason you default on your loan and do not repay it, the insurer will pay to the bank any shortfall between the loan balance and the sale price of the property, and then pursue you to get it back.  This might occur if you just stop paying the loan, or if you have a forced property sale and the property sells for less than what you owe to the bank.

The reason it applies to loans of more than 80% of the property’s value is that loans where the owner starts out with little equity are the ones most at risk. Where you borrow less than 80%, there is a greater chance that any forced sale would still recover enough to pay off the debt.

Be aware that although the insurance policy covers the bank (and not you), you pay the premium.  LMI does not cover you for any inability to meet repayments – and so it is not a policy for you, and if you want to cover your mortgage payment in the event of your incapacity to pay, you would need a mortgage repayment protection policy as well.

Where LMI is concerned, you usually have two options – to meet the payment yourself, or add it to the loan. Note that if you add it to your loan, not only will you increase your mortgage repayments (and essentially pay interest on this premium), you reduce the equity you have in the property.  This means you own less of the property, and it would then take you longer to gain the equity you need to leverage into the next property.  It is for this reason that I always advise borrowers who need LMI to meet the payment themselves, if possible.

It’s unlikely that you will now be able to go back and simply add it to the loan without paperwork.  The bank may, however (and depending upon the loan type) go back and reapprove your loan at a higher amount to allow you to  repay yourself for the LMI.  This is known as a loan increase and is possible with many loan types these days.  A loan increase is easier as it does not require a discharge of mortgage to be put in place - it’s just an additional advance of funds.  Note that in doing this you are changing the loan to valuation ratio further (as LMI can be up to 2% of the loan amount) which incurs further LMI again.

Be aware though that if this is an investment loan and you choose to do this, the interest on the amount you ‘draw back’ will not be tax deductible. The tax office will consider this amount to be a payment to you, and therefore of a ‘personal nature’, and so they will not allow deductibility on that portion of your interest.

Regards,

Margaret

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Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popular Property Success With Margaret Lomas and Your Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

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