Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your wealth. Although we receive compensation from our fellow lenders, who we will always acknowledge, all opinions are our own. When paying off your home loan, the total amount will be higher over the life of your loan.
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When you buy a home, the mortgage lender has an interest in your home. Your lender will set up and manage an escrow account on your behalf to ensure that certain recurring payments are made on time.
Here’s what you need to know about homeowner’s insurance and escrow:
What is a homeowner’s insurance escrow account?
A mortgage loan account contains the savings on your home’s expenses — such as homeowner’s insurance and property taxes — that you pay as part of your mortgage. The account is set up when you close on your home, with the money you pay as part of your closing costs. Your mortgage company or agent manages the account and pays you the balance when it arrives.
Having an escrow account allows you to use these funds by combining them into one PITI (interest, taxes, insurance). It also gives you confidence in your lender which makes your mortgage risk free for the lender by ensuring that the required amount will be paid.
Homeowner’s insurance is one bill related to a home that is usually paid from an escrow account.
Once you start making monthly payments on your loan, your lender or mortgage lender will deposit a certain amount of your entire payment into your insurance policy. Then, when your homeowner’s insurance is due, the lender will pay you from the escrow account on your behalf.
How does home owner escrow work?
Homeowners insurance is a part of the home closing process, so you may end up paying more at closing.
If you choose to – or are required to – pay your homeowner’s insurance premium as part of your monthly payment instead of separately, your lender will set up an escrow account where the money will be held until the payment is due.
The lender will divide your annual insurance premium by 12 to calculate how much you must pay into the escrow account each month to pay off your mortgage.
The monthly escrow payment is added to your regular payment, so you only have one bill to pay each month.
Learn more: How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?
Advantages and disadvantages of home owner insurance escrow
An escrow account offers definite benefits, but it also has some drawbacks.
The main benefit of an insurance escrow is that it helps you remember to pay your homeowner’s insurance. Other escrow methods can help with:
- One payment: You only have one payment to make on your home, which makes it easy to budget.
- Easy to maintain: Monthly contributions to your escrow account keep those payments in check compared to annual payments.
- Easy to change for premium increase: You will have your insurance premiums for several months, giving you time to adjust to the increase in premiums.
Be sure to consider the following issues if you want to use an escrow account to pay your insurance premiums:
- It increases your monthly payment: Breaking down your homeowner’s insurance and property tax payments into smaller payments throughout the year makes them easier to manage, but it also means higher monthly payments.
- Compare the errors: Your escrow fee covers the lender’s estimate of your annual insurance premium. Your loan payments will increase if the rate goes up or the lender gives you the wrong number.
- Don’t be fooled: You still need to stay on top of your payment and withdrawal dates from your escrow account to make sure the money is paid.
Do I need to have home insurance when I pay off my mortgage?
You are free to cancel your homeowner’s insurance once you pay off your mortgage. But before doing this, it is important to consider the consequences of leaving your home without insurance.
Homeowners insurance protects everything in your home against damage from fire, theft, vandalism, and many other perils. It also pays for lodging while your home is being repaired or rebuilt if it was damaged by a covered event.
In addition, home insurance policies include coverage that can pay for medical treatment if someone is injured on your property – and cover your costs if they sue. It also covers damage that you, your family members, or your pets cause to other people or their property.
Learn more: Is Homeowners Insurance Necessary?
Homeowners insurance coverage FAQs
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about homeowner’s insurance and escrow accounts:
What if the borrower does not pay on time?
If the borrower pays late or misses a payment, then they are responsible for any penalties the insurance company imposes. Contact the lender or agent to resolve the matter in a timely manner.
If late or missed payments cause your policy to be canceled, your lender must contact your insurer to reinstate the policy or purchase a new policy on your behalf, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
How do I know which homeowner’s insurance policy to use?
Your mortgage lender will let you know what type of insurance you need to have: actual cash value, which covers the reduced value of your home and property, or replacement value, which covers the full cost of repairs or replacements.
Next, determine how much coverage you need based on the value of your home and property, and then get quotes from multiple insurance companies to compare prices.
See: Home Insurance Replacement Cost vs. Real Value of Money
What if I want to change my homeowner’s insurance company?
When you select a new insurance policy and policy, select the effective date for the new policy, and confirm when it will be effective. Then ask your homeowner’s insurance agent to request that your current policy be canceled on or after that date.
Remember to contact your lender to inform them of the change in insurance before it takes effect. You may need to provide a written statement with your new website to verify your recent registration.
Disclaimer: All insurance related services are provided through Young Alfred.