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Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is coverage that insures the mortgage lender against loss if the borrower or borrowers default on the home loan.

PMI is normally required when a borrower's down payment or equity is less than 20 percent of the loan value. Not all lenders will require PMI, but those that follow the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines for home loan approval will require PMI.

The mortgage insurance is usually escrowed into the mortgage payment, and when a borrower reaches 20 percent equity, mortgage insurance is not required.

PMI is the equivalent of FHA or VA insurance on government mortgage loans.
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