Mortgage insurers are insurance companies that enable banks to lend over 80% of the property value by taking on the risk of the loans in return for an insurance premium.
This type of insurance is known as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
The two big mortgage insurers
Australia has two main mortgage insurers that dominate the LMI market.
Most lenders work with just one of these on an exclusive basis, others work with both insurers or have their own insurer that is backed up behind the scenes by one of these companies.
- Helia Financial: Helia (formally Genworth) operates in over 25 countries, has 15 million customers worldwide and deals with over 100 different lenders in Australia. Since 1965, Helia has insured over $300 billion worth of home loans in Australia alone.
- QBE LMI / PMI: The QBE Group comes within the top 25 companies in the global insurance market and has insured loans in Australia, New Zealand as well as throughout Asia. QBE LMI previously was known as PMI which was part of an American owned mortgage insurer.
There are several other smaller LMI providers, some of which are owned by the lenders they insure. Note that some lenders charge fees instead of an LMI Premium.
These can be named as Risk Fee, Loan Extension Fee (LEF), Low Deposit Premium (LDP) or Reduced Equity Fee (REF). They all are essentially the same as LMI.
- CBA LDP
- St George Insurance (SGI)
- St George LEF
- ANZ LMI
- Westpac LMI (WLMI)
- MRM Pty Ltd / Widebay Australia LMI
- Rams Risk Fee
- ING REF
- Widebay Australia LMI
Which LMI company is the cheapest?
Various LMI companies have significantly different premiums for different types of loans (low doc or normal), types of borrowers (first home buyers or other borrowers), LVRs (90%, 95% etc) and loan amounts.
For this reason, there is no one “best” LMI provider. Please enquire online or to contact one of our mortgage brokers on 1300 889 743 and we can help you find a lender with a competitive interest rate and a low LMI premium.
Can I choose my LMI provider?
No, the lender chooses the mortgage insurer that will insure your loan and usually has an exclusive agreement with just one or two mortgage insurers.Hence, it is best to apply for a loan with a lender that uses a provider with the cheapest LMI premium.
Apply for a home loan
Our mortgage brokers have extensive knowledge about Lenders Mortgage Insurers and their respective LMI premiums. Please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online to discuss your situation with one of our expert mortgage brokers.