Homeowners’ insurance commitment explained | The bank rate


As a homeowner, you have a lot of annual expenses, some of which may not always be budgeted for. However, a home insurance escrow account is designed to prevent you from late payment when your annual home insurance bill falls due. Homeowners in some states may not realize that it may be necessary to use an escrow account if they have a lender, although the option may be left to the owner in other states. If that’s your choice, understanding why an escrow account is established and the pros and cons of having one could help you decide if these types of accounts are beneficial for your financial situation.

What is a home insurance escrow account?

A home insurance escrow account is a separate bank account that your mortgage lender maintains. The account is specially designed to house the money you set aside each month to pay off several key items of the mortgage, including home insurance. Then when the lump sum of your home insurance bill is due, the amount is withdrawn from that separate bank account.

The escrow account can also be used for property taxes and mortgage insurance, in addition to home insurance. When you make a monthly payment to your mortgage lender, it usually includes both your mortgage and the payment from your escrow account. Then, depending on how your account is set up, your mortgage lender makes the payment on your behalf when the lump sum is due.

How does an escrow account pay for home insurance?

Before you close a home, you’ll want to check whether your lender is required to set up an escrow on your behalf or whether you have the option of managing it yourself. If your lender is responsible for setting up the escrow account, you will need to pay attention to all escrow related documents during the closing process. After the lender or bank sets up the escrow account, you will pay each month when you make your mortgage payment.

Home insurance premiums are set for one year. Since the lender requires you to purchase insurance for your property, the escrow account is established to ensure payment is made. The amount for which you are quoted annually is divided into 12 equal installments, which corresponds to the amount established for monthly installments. When you close your property, the first year of premiums is usually included in the closing costs.

For example, if your home insurance premiums are $ 1,000 per year, the payment will be $ 83 per month and added to the escrow account. Keep in mind that while your home insurance premium may go up or down, it may not change your total monthly payment each month. Your taxes or mortgage payments may also change, which could offset any changes in your home insurance premiums.

Pros and cons of paying for home insurance with an escrow account

There are a few potential pros and cons of paying for your home insurance with an escrow account. While some homeowners like to know that the annual bill can be paid without much hassle, other homeowners might want to take on the responsibility of making the annual payments themselves.

AdvantagesThe inconvenients
When the home insurance bill is due, the money should already be set aside to cover it as long as you have kept the payments.There is a larger upfront payment with closing costs, as you usually have to prepay for home insurance.
Because your mortgage lender handles the payment for you, it’s one less task to remember.You risk missing out on short-term investment opportunities by not saving money in your own account.
Some states allow you to earn interest on the escrow account.There are higher monthly mortgage payments with no option to change the payment if your budget is tight that month.
Home insurance becomes an automatic payment without surprises when the bill is due.

Keep in mind that the type of loan you have and the state you live in may require you to have an escrow account. However, if you have a choice, you should consider whether the pros outweigh the cons for you and whether you are disciplined enough to set aside the money for the annual payment or the monthly payments yourself. Some owners prefer to keep the money in their own account so that they can control how the money is saved or invested.

Should you keep your home insurance after paying off your mortgage?

Once you’ve paid off your mortgage, you’ll need to consider whether you should maintain a home insurance policy, as home insurance is not a legal requirement. Before you waive the policy, remember that home insurance can help you avoid devastating out-of-pocket expenses if your property is damaged or destroyed by a covered loss.

Your property is likely to be your most valuable asset, and home insurance can help protect it financially when covered damage or loss occurs to the structure. In addition, it also covers your personal effects inside your property. If someone is injured while on your property, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your policy’s liability coverage can help pay their medical bills and help you defend yourself in court. if necessary. Some of the expenses associated with medical bills or home repairs can be quite expensive. Having the right home insurance policy could help keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum and save you from unusually high medical or construction costs. Many affordable home insurance companies are also available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best home insurance company?

To determine the best home insurance company, you need to focus on your individual needs and what is most important to you. When evaluating home insurance companies, you may find it helpful to compare coverage options, discounts, ratings and reviews from third parties, as well as an insurer’s digital experience. Bankrate evaluated these same categories, including premium rate samples, and found that Erie, Lemonade, State Farm, and USAA are a few examples of notable carriers.

What happens if home insurance premiums are not paid on time?

Your mortgage lender is required to make timely payments for home insurance premiums and any other type of expenses held in escrow. Sometimes mistakes happen and a lender may not make the premium payment on time. If a lender is late, you must first contact them immediately.

Most likely, the problem can be solved with a simple phone call. However, you must also send a written notice to the lender. A follow-up with the insurer is also required to ensure that the correct payment has been made after having notified it.

Can I remove home insurance from an escrow account?

Once you’ve created a home insurance escrow account, it can be difficult to get it deleted, but not impossible. Each mortgage lender may have different rules and requirements for canceling an escrow account, such as requiring the mortgage to be at least one year old. If you want to cancel, you must contact the mortgage company to find out the exact process required. You should also confirm if you live in a state where you are required to have an escrow account established by the lender.


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