Why do mortgage lenders require home insurance?

ByRichard C. Sloan

Apr 3, 2022

Image source: Getty Images

You will need to follow different steps to obtain a mortgage loan. These include providing your lender with financial documents, including pay stubs and recent tax returns, as well as going through the home inspection process.

You will also need to put home insurance in place before taking out a mortgage. And to be clear, it’s not just to protect you – it’s a requirement imposed by lenders.

Why is that? The answer is simple.

Lenders must protect themselves

Technically, you don’t need a home insurance policy to buy a house. But if you’re financing a home purchase with a mortgage, instead of buying a property outright with cash, you’ll need homeowners insurance to finalize that home loan.

When mortgage lenders grant mortgages, they take the risk of not being reimbursed. This is why borrowers with higher credit scores tend to hang lower mortgage rates than those with bad credit. Higher credit means you are less of a risky borrower in the eyes of lenders.

Now, if you’re too behind on your mortgage payments, the only recourse your lender might have to get their money back at that point is to force the sale of your home through a process known as foreclosure. But if your home is damaged or destroyed, your lender won’t have a property for sale in that situation.

That’s why mortgage lenders require home buyers to carry home insurance. If your home is destroyed and you have insurance in place, your home can be rebuilt. Without insurance, you and your lender may be out of luck.

How much home insurance do lenders require?

Typically, mortgage lenders require borrowers to purchase a home insurance policy that covers 100% of the replacement cost of their home. This way a house can be rebuilt if it is completely destroyed. The cost of an associated policy based on this requirement will depend on where you live and the size and features of your home.

What if you don’t get a mortgage?

Even if you are able to buy a house with cash and therefore do not have to buy home insurance, it is unwise to give up this coverage. If your home is destroyed by fire or weather event, you could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if it has to be rebuilt from scratch.

Plus, home insurance protects you if someone gets hurt on your property. Suppose a delivery person shows up at your door to drop off a package and slides on a patch of ice along your driveway. This person could take legal action against you to cover their medical expenses, but a home insurance policy will usually take care of this tab.

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t try to save money when it comes to buying home insurance, and you can do that by shopping around with different insurance companies for the best rates. But whether or not you get a mortgage, it pays to have home insurance. After all, if lenders insist on protecting their financial interests, you should invest in protecting yours.

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