Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2021

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Insurance Q&A: “Is homeowners insurance included in the mortgage?”

In order to answer this question, it’s important to point out the difference between mortgage insurance and homeowners insurance. They may sound like two ways to say the same thing, but they serve completely different functions. One is required on every loan while the other is only required on certain loans.

The purpose of mortgage insurance is to protect the bank that loaned you the money to purchase your home in the event of default. Mortgage insurance is necessary for first mortgages in excess of 80% of the total appraised value of your home. They’re scheduled to go until you get to a certain loan to value. But if the value of your property goes up substantially, you can refinance or ask your current mortgage company to drop your mortgage insurance. Keep in mind, they can say no or require you to get an updated appraisal to establish the current value.

Homeowners insurance, on the other hand, protects homeowners in the event a home is damaged or destroyed, and also provides liability coverage.

Mortgage lenders typically require you to cover the dwelling up to a reasonable replacement cost. You can add coverage for your personal belongings, liability, and other costs, and many do. But especially with investment homes, many buyers save money on their monthly payment.

Ultimately, your homeowners insurance is not included in your mortgage, meaning your lender will not actually insure your home or pay claims against your insurance policy.

What about impounds?

However, it is possible to have your homeowners insurance premiums and property taxes included in your monthly mortgage payments through a process called impounding. Generally, you have to opt out if you choose not to escrow/impound your taxes and insurance.

Basically, your mortgage company allows you to prepay the cost of your homeowners insurance and property taxes by collecting the money from you over the course of the year. Then they pay your insurance bill for you on renewal. This helps them make sure your property is protected against damage and tax liens.

Some homeowners may find it convenient to pay the cost of these bills in smaller increments throughout the year versus all at once annually. However, some do choose to go without escrow. Lenders typically charge a higher interest rate to cover a certain amount of extra risk.

If you don’t impound your homeowners insurance and taxes, you may forget to make a payment, so choose wisely.

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What happens if you don’t have an insurance company?

If you’re applying for a mortgage loan, your lender will condition for proof of insurance and typically a replacement cost estimator to fund the loan. You have them added as a mortgagee or additional interest. If you do not carry insurance, your mortgage lender has the right to sign up for insurance for you. This offers financial protection to them. While the premiums are typically much higher than coverage you could get on your own, don’t count on these policies covering your personal property or other risks. It typically only covers things the lender has direct interest in.