For Consumers

Private mortgage insurance (PMI)

What is PMI? 

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on their mortgage loan. Lenders generally require PMI when your down payment on a home is less than 20% of the home’s total value.  

The lender chooses the PMI company, so we recommend that you ask various lenders how much they charge for PMI coverage and choose the best lender for your needs. 

PMI and your consumer rights 

Under the federal Homeowners Protection Act (HPA), your lender must: 

  • Inform you in writing that you have PMI. 
  • Provide you with an explanation of coverage. 
  • Tell you when and how you can cancel PMI. 
  • Let you know annually when you qualify to cancel the coverage.  

If you have a history of paying your monthly mortgage bill on time, you can ask to cancel the coverage once your mortgage is less than 80% of the home's value or purchase price. 

How to file a complaint if your lender doesn’t comply with the HPA

First, find out who regulates your financial institution. Then, contact the appropriate organization that oversees or regulates it:

State-chartered credit unions

Washington state Dept. of Financial Institutions Division of Credit Unions

State-chartered banks

Washington state Dept. of Financial Institutions Division of Banks

Non-depository lenders and servicers (mortgage companies that aren't a bank or a credit union)

Washington state Dept. of Financial Institutions Division of Consumer Services

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Federally-chartered credit unions

National Credit Union Association (

Federally-chartered banks

U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): BankFind Suite search: Find out which agency regulates your federally-chartered bank.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau