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.

  • Genworth Financial: Genworth operates in over 25 countries, has 15 million customers worldwide and deals with over 100 different lenders in Australia. Since 1965, Genworth 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.

Other providers

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.

  • St George Insurance (SGI)
  • St George LEF
  • Westpac LMI (WLMI)
  • MRM Pty Ltd / Widebay Australia LMI
  • Rams Risk Fee
  • 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.

  • Siri

    Hi, I landed here through Google and I find this page quite interesting. Do you guys also have a list of LMI premiums or do I need to get it directly from the banks?

  • Hi Siri,

    You can check out a table full of LMI rates offered by one of our lenders for both full doc loans as well as low doc loans here:

    You can also try our LMI calculator if you want a more specific answer for your personal situation:

  • Julian

    Since there’re many LMI providers, how do we know which company provides the cheapest LMI?

  • Hi Julian,

    You might want to try our calculator Our calculator will identify which lenders and LMI providers you can qualify with by taking in your requirements as well as desired loan features and your financial situation.

    All LMI providers have their own rates for calculating this, so you will be charged differently by each insurer.

    However, you cannot pick the insurance provider for your home loan – this can only be determined by the lender when you submit your loan application since each lender only works with a few insurance providers. Also the lender with the better rates will also be working with insurers with lower LMI rates.

  • Ella

    2 of the banks I’ve narrowed down use Genworth and 1 uses QBE. I think I’ll go for the Genworth bank so I’d like to know if they can consider a rural property without being very conservative.

  • Hey Ella, Genworth are great at considering rural locations so that shouldn’t be a major problem for them. We have an entire page on how Genworth’s LMI compares with other mortgage insurance providers so if you want to learn more about them, please check out the compare Genworth LMI page:

  • Flik

    Reading more and more about LMI just makes me want to avoid it even more. I can’t go guarantor right now so can I just have some tips that can help me save instead?

  • Hi,
    We understand that not all people may qualify for or choose to get a no deposit home loan. So we have created a page full of useful tips and info that may help them save up a deposit for their home loan. Please feel free to go through it:

  • Roy

    I’m having trouble saving a deposit because all my income seems to get totally spent. Any tips on how I can save so I can avoid LMI?

  • Hey Roy,

    We generally recommend anyone in such a position to open a separate savings account and then setup a direct debit payment or regular transfer from their cheque account so savings are made automatically. Some savings accounts have a feature allowing you to do this or, alternatively, you can setup a recurring transfer through internet banking. A variation on this method is to ask your employer to send some of your pay directly to your savings account. You never see the money in your day to day spending account and therefore you won’t miss it. This method is quite effective as it forces you to save and your living expenses will adjust over time to take this new “expense” into account.

  • Scott Butcher

    What credit score do LMI providers usually require?

  • Hi Scott
    It’s complicated as the LVR, yoir occupation and asset position come into play as well. Below 550 is usually unacceptable. Note we have some lenders that dont credit score due to agreements with their LMI providers.

  • Gurdev Singh Badheri

    Hi Guys, Can anyone advice me that refund LMI Policy of QBE…… I took home loan and QBE LMI Insurance and Now i repaid back my home within 8Month. I am not sure can get back my LMI insurance payments (QBE LMI Policy)


  • Hi Gurdev,
    This would depend on QBE’s agreement with the lender. Our recommendation is that you contact your lender and ask them to request a refund from QBE and for this to be refunded to you. If they have refunds then you’ll get it and if not then you wont.
    Note that most lenders are pretty oblivious to this possibility and it isn’t in their processes at all. So expect a few challenges and potentially you may need to speak to someone with > 10 yrs exp in the lender to sort this out and determine if they do it or not.

  • Hemsworth

    I’m planning to apply for a home loan. I recently heard that I have to pay mortgage insurance to the lenders but I’m not sure of the amount. Is there any way I could calculate that on my own?

  • Hi Hemsworth,
    You have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) to the lenders if you borrow more than 80% of the property value. It is an insurance that protects the lenders in case you default on your loan. Additionally, you can try our LMI calculator to estimate the LMI premium that you would be liable to pay with a range of lenders and insurers.

  • Cheney Karen

    Just wanted to know if any LMI insurers accept properties within 50 meters of high tension power lines as security, that you are aware of?

  • Hi Karen,
    Properties, where a high tension power line is within 50m from the property boundary are typically not insurable by the major mortgage insurers, that means you can only borrow up to 80% LVR on a case by case basis. A few of our lenders do not have a specific policy on power lines so it would be determined by valuation and risk ratings. The bank valuer’s comments are critical. We try and order an upfront valuation where possible. I would recommend filling in our online assessment form: so one of our specialist mortgage brokers can run the scenario directly with our lenders.