What is Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)?

If you’re finding it difficult to save a 20% home loan deposit, you might still be able to borrow by paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance. We’ll run through how LMI works and what it might mean for you.

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI) is insurance that a lender takes out to insure itself against the risk of not recovering the outstanding loan balance. This is required if you, the borrower, are unable to meet your loan payments and the property is sold for less than the outstanding loan amount (known as the ‘shortfall debt’).

The Lender will normally require LMI if you do not have the required home loan deposit (typically 20% of the property value) and the cost is usually passed to the borrower as a fee. 

Paying LMI may mean that you are able to apply for a home loan sooner. However, a smaller deposit may also increase the possibility of a shortfall debt as there is less of a buffer between the outstanding loan amount and the property value.

It’s important to note that LMI is insurance that protects NAB, not you (or any guarantors) against loss. Only the Lender can make a claim under the LMI policy, not you.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance Customer Fact Sheet (PDF, 386KB), opens in new window

Benefits of LMI

Where you meet all other lending criteria, LMI is one way of buying your home sooner without having the 20% deposit typically required by lenders. Without LMI, a lender may not be able to offer you a home loan even where those other lending requirements are met.

What does LMI cost?

The cost of LMI depends on various factors including, the amount of your home loan, the value of the property you’re buying and the type of loan you get. Your NAB banker or your broker will provide you with the amount of the LMI fee when you apply for your home loan.

Sustainable Home Discount Offer

If you are required to pay the LMI premium as part of a new home loan, you might be eligible  to receive a 5% discount on the LMI premium under the Sustainable Home Discount Offer, available from 17 October 2022.

You may also be eligible  for an interest rate discount on new or existing home loans.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Offer, you’ll be subject to the following criteria.

  • To receive the LMI discount, you must be required to pay the LMI premium for a new NAB home loan.

  • To receive the interest rate discount, you must be applying for the NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan or the NAB Tailored Home Loan.

  • The property being purchased or refinanced has obtained a Nationwide House Energy Rating System (NatHERS) assessment rating of 7-stars or greater or a Green Home Building Council of Australia (GBCA) Green Star Home accreditation.

    You’ll need to provide us with one of the following types of certificates as evidence that you meet these criteria.

    Option 1: Accredited NatHERS Design Rating certificate.

    Option 2: GBCA 'By Design' certificate (available through a GCBA-certified volume home builder).

  • If you are taking out a construction loan, the LMI discount may be available where your building contract has a clause stating the finished property will be NatHERS 7-Stars or greater, or a GBCA Green Star Home. The building contract must be provided as evidence to meet these criteria. Construction loans will not receive an interest rate discount on the new or existing lending.

    LMI premium discount is offered by QBE Insurance – our LMI insurer. Eligibility conditions are subject to change. Applications are subject to credit approval, satisfactory security and minimum requirements. Full terms and conditions will be set out in our loan offer, if an offer is made. Fees and charges are payable.

How does LMI get paid?

LMI is charged as a one-off cost by the LMI provider to us. We pass on this cost as an LMI fee to you and no more. The LMI fee is generally added to the amount you borrow and payable at draw down. In some cases, you may be able to pay this upfront using your own funds – speak to us to find out more. 

Is LMI refundable or transferable to another financial institution?

LMI is not transferable to other financial institutions. If you repay your home loan within two years of the settlement or drawdown date, you may be entitled to a partial refund of the LMI fee.

If your settlement or drawdown date was on or after 25th November 2019, you’ll be refunded:

  • 40% of your LMI fee if you repay your home loan within 12 months of the date of settlement or drawdown.
  • 20% of your LMI fee if you repay your home loan between 12 and 24 months after the date of settlement or drawdown.

You won’t be refunded any of your LMI fee if your drawdown or settlement date was before 25th of November 2019; or if you don’t repay your home loan within two years of your settlement or drawdown date. If you wish to refinance to another lender, you may need to pay LMI again with your new lender if you do not meet their minimum deposit requirements.

What if I'm unable to make my home loan repayments?

If you are unable to make your loan repayments and default on your home loan, your property may be sold to cover the outstanding loan amount. If the property is sold for less than the outstanding loan amount, NAB will incur a loss and submit a claim to the LMI provider. The LMI provider pays NAB this amount (subject to the LMI policy) and the LMI provider or their authorised third-party debt collector may then seek to recover this amount directly from you as the borrower, or any guarantors.

For example:

Peter and Emma buy a home valued at $750,000. LMI is required and included (or capitalised) into the loan amount of $700,000. Unfortunately, Peter and Emma are unable to meet their loan repayments and default on their loan. The property is sold for a loss at $650,000. The outstanding loan balance at the time of sale is $725,000 made up of the original loan amount, unpaid interest that has accumulated during the default period and other fees/charges associated with the sale. This means there is a shortfall of $75,000 (being the difference between the outstanding loan balance of $725,000 and the sale proceeds of $650,000). In this case, the LMI provider would, pay NAB the shortfall. The LMI provider may then seek repayment of this amount from Peter and Emma.

LMI versus Mortgage Protection Insurance (MPI)

LMI should not be confused with Mortgage Protection Insurance (MPI). MPI covers you if you’re unable to meet your mortgage repayments due to unemployment, death or disability. MPI protects you, whilst LMI protects the lender.

Experiencing financial difficulties

If you’re experiencing financial difficulties or think that you may be unable to make your home loan repayments, contact NAB Assist on 1800 701 599. Our NAB Assist team will assess your situation and work with you to help get you back on track.

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Important information

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

Target Market Determinations for these products are available at nab.com.au/TMD.