Private mortgage insurance is an extra cost you just might have on your monthly mortgage bill. You're stuck paying for PMI initially if your lender required the insurance as a condition of the loan. The insurance protects the lender against loss if you default and is usually required if your down payment is below 20 percent of the home's purchase price. The good news is you don't have to pay PMI for the entire life of the loan. Once you pay down your mortgage to a certain amount, you can have the PMI canceled.
Check Your Mortgage Statement
Check the current mortgage statement. Look at the payment breakdown section to see if PMI is an itemized part of your total bill. Contact your lender to confirm PMI is still on the loan if you're unsure after reading the statement.
Determine Your Loan Balance
Find your current loan balance and original appraisal figure. Your loan-to-home value must fall under 81 percent before you can request PMI cancellation. Contact your lender or locate a current statement for your loan balance. Check your paperwork from when you bought the home for the appraisal figure.
Check if PMI Can Be Canceled
Calculate your current loan-to-home value to see if you may request PMI cancellation. Divide the loan balance by the appraised value to get your LTV. For example, if your current mortgage balance is $80,000 and the house was appraised at $100,000, your LTV is 0.80, or 80 percent.
Requirements for PMI to be Canceled
When you request PMI cancellation, the lender will look at your loan status and payment history as part of the approval process. You have to be current. Your history can't show a 30-day or more late payment in the last year or a 60-day or more late payment in the last two years. You may have a mortgage insurance premium, or MIP, instead of PMI if you have an FHA loan. MIP is a similar insurance product but isn't subject to PMI's cancellation or automatic termination rules. If you have MIP, expect to pay it for the life of your loan.
Request PMI be Canceled
Contact your lender to ask for PMI cancellation instructions if your loan qualifies. Lenders have their own procedures for PMI cancellation requests. Follow the lender's instructions to ask for the removal of PMI from your loan. Lenders are required to cancel PMI on most loans automatically once the LTV falls to 78 percent (or 77 percent for a high-risk loan) as long as the loan is current.