When buying a home, most of us will take out a mortgage to finance our new purchase. The provider of that mortgage, normally a bank or trust company, may require you take out a mortgage insurance policy to guarantee payment of the mortgage. Should you die with a balance still owing, the bank, which owns the policy, will receive the balance of the payments in one lump sum. In this case, the survivors of the mortgage holder now own the house outright.
This is a group life insurance which you get by simply by ticking a box. However, the downside of this is that you are grouped together with people of varying ages and states of health; in other words, a typical group insurance policy. If you are older and not in great health, this may be the way to go, though you should certainly confirm that you can’t get a better rate. It is very very easy just to agree and tick a box simply on the grounds that it takes no effort to do so. But that little tick can cost you hundreds of dollars more than you need to spend.
By far the majority of buyers should go to a broker who will look after their interests, not the interests of the bank. You need someone experienced to advise you on what you need and then to shop for that particular type of life insurance for you. You then have a list of companies and prices from which to make a choice.
You now have the mortgage insurance for the amount owing on your mortgage, and because you own it, not the bank, your survivors can decide what to do with the capital if you die. They could just continue the payments, pay off some of the capital owing or pay it off completely, their choice!
Doing it this way enables you to consider other reasons to take this mortgage insurance. Perhaps you also have a cottage or second home for which you also need mortgage insurance.
It is important to remember that “mortgage insurance” is term life insurance, purchased for the purpose of paying off the mortgage. It is for this reason only that it is called mortgage insurance.