FHA mortgage insurance removal: Get rid of PMI or MIP

Tim Lucas
Tim Lucas
The Mortgage Reports Editor
June 17, 2021 - 13 min read

How do I cancel FHA mortgage insurance?

Despite what you’ve heard, FHA mortgage insurance premium (MIP) is not permanent. Neither is conventional mortgage insurance.

Some homeowners can simply let their mortgage insurance fall off; others need to refinance out of it.

With mortgage rates near historic lows, and home values rising, many are choosing to do the latter.

Homeowners are saving hundreds per month by refinancing – especially when they can take close to 1% off their interest rate.

Getting rid of FHA MIP is a big deal. Ready to start? You can check your eligibility for a new, PMI–free mortgage via a refinance.

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How long does FHA MIP last?

FHA loans fall into two categories: those with case numbers issued before June 3, 2013, and applications made on or after that date.

FHA MIP removal depends on this deadline because that’s when FHA rules changed.

FHA loans for which you completed an application on or after June 3, 2013

Loan TermOriginal Down PaymentMIP Duration
20, 25, 30 yearsLess than 10%Life of loan
20, 25, 30 yearsMore than 10%11 years
15 years or lessLess than 10%Life of loan
15 years or lessMore than 10%11 years

FHA loans for which you completed an application before June 3, 2013:

Loan TermOriginal Down PaymentMIP Duration
20, 25, 30 yearsLess than 10%78% LTV after 5 years
20, 25, 30 years10-22%78% LTV after 5 years
20, 25, 30 yearsMore than 22%5 years
15 yearsLess than 10%78% LTV
15 years10-22%78% LTV
15 yearsMore than 22%No MIP

How to remove FHA mortgage insurance premium

Paying FHA mortgage insurance doesn’t have to be permanent. You just need decent credit and enough equity to refinance into a conventional loan.

According to the National Association of REALTORS, the median home listed for sale in the U.S. was $341,600 in April 2021. That’s 18% higher than one year earlier.

That means more homeowners will be in a position to refinance out of FHA, and very soon.

Once homeowners reach 20% equity based on current value, they can refinance into a conventional loan – one that does not require any mortgage insurance whatsoever.

Automatic FHA mortgage insurance removal

If you received your FHA loan before June 3, 2013, you are eligible for MIP cancelation after five years.

You must have 22% equity in the property, and you must have made all payments on time.

For homeowners with FHA loans issued on or after June 3, 2013, you must refinance into a conventional loan and have a current loan–to–value ratio of 80% or lower.

Loan–to–value ratio (LTV) is another way to measure your home equity.

If you owed $160,000 on your home that’s valued at $200,000, your LTV would be 80% because the loan balance ($160,000) is 80% of the home’s value ($200,000).

An LTV of 80% means you have 20% home equity which should be enough to refinance into a conventional loan with no PMI.

Refinance to remove FHA MIP

Most FHA homeowners today have a loan with the following characteristics:

  • Opened on or after June 3, 2013
  • Less than 10% original down payment
  • 30–year loan

These FHA mortgage loans are not eligible for automatic mortgage insurance cancellation.

To stop paying mortgage insurance premiums you’d need to refinance out of your FHA loan.

The good news is that there are no restrictions on refinancing out of FHA into a conventional loan with no PMI. Plus, there are never any prepayment penalties on FHA loans, so you can refinance any time you want.

You need about 20% home equity to do so. To find your home equity, subtract your current mortgage balance from the value of your home.

You also need a credit score of at least 620 to refinance into a conventional loan with most lenders.

Refinancing into lower FHA MIP

Not everyone is eligible for a conventional refinance, and that’s ok. There may be a way to lower your FHA mortgage insurance cost even if you can’t remove it altogether.

You may have a higher rate of MIP than what is available today.

Here is a history of FHA MIP rates charged by the Federal Housing Administration:

  • Prior to January 2008: 0.50% annual MIP
  • October 2008: 0.55% annual MIP
  • April 2010: 0.55% annual MIP
  • October 2010: 0.90% annual MIP
  • April 2011: 1.15% annual MIP
  • April 2012: 1.25% annual MIP
  • April 2013: 1.35% annual MIP
  • January 2015: 0.85% annual MIP

If you received a loan in January 2013, for instance, you could refinance into today’s lower MIP and save $40 per month per $100,000 borrowed. Plus, you may save even more by getting a lower mortgage rate.

Keep in mind, though, that your new FHA loan’s MIP will become non–cancelable. That’s because your new loan will originate after June 2013, when FHA MIP rules changed.

Reduced upfront and monthly MIP for certain refinancing homeowners

If you got your FHA loan prior to May 31, 2009, you can receive lower MIP rates via an FHA Streamline Refinance.

Eligible candidates receive annual MIP of 0.55% (standard is 0.85%) and reduced upfront MIP of 0.01% (standard is 1.75%).

That’s a savings of $3,480 upfront and $50 per month on a $200,000 loan.

How to remove conventional private mortgage insurance (PMI)

You have more options to cancel mortgage insurance if you have a conventional (non–government) loan with PMI.

You can simply wait for your PMI coverage to drop off. By law, lenders must cancel conventional PMI when you reach 78% loan–to–value.

Many home buyers opt for a conventional loan because PMI drops while FHA MIP does not go away on its own – unless you put down 10% or more.

Keep in mind most mortgage lenders base the 78% LTV on their last appraised value and not the original value at the time of purchase.

If your property value has gone up substantially, contact your current loan servicer and check its requirements to cancel early.

The servicer may require a new appraisal, or rely on its own internal valuation tools to determine your home’s up–to–date value.

You can also cancel conventional PMI with a refinance.

The appraisal for your refinance loan serves as proof of current value. If your loan amount is 80% or less of your current value, you do not incur new PMI.

How to do a PMI removal refinance

The refinancing process is straightforward. Get an estimate of value from a local real estate agent or loan officer. Online home valuation websites can be inaccurate, so be careful with those.

See if you have around 20% equity based on your home’s estimated value. Be sure to add closing costs onto your existing loan balance if you do not wish to pay them out of pocket.

For example, say you purchased a home three years ago:

  • Original purchase price: $200,000
  • Original FHA loan amount: $196,375
  • Payment with FHA MIP: $1,186

After three years, you’ve paid off principal, and your home’s value has risen. Both of these factors help you cancel your FHA MIP.

  • New conventional loan amount: $188,000
  • Current Value: $235,000
  • Loan–to–value: 80%
  • New payment (no PMI): $898

Refinancing out of FHA MIP can yield substantial savings.

Homeowners who received an FHA loan prior to January 2015 are paying quite high FHA mortgage insurance premiums. This is because FHA dropped premiums by 35% in 2015, but only for new FHA applicants.

Pre–2015 FHA home buyers can get a double savings effect: they are tapping into today’s low rates and canceling high FHA mortgage insurance – all with one refinance.

Conventional PMI vs. FHA mortgage insurance

The obvious advantage to conventional PMI is that it drops off automatically – no refinance necessary. That’s not the case with FHA MIP.

Yet, many home buyers choose FHA and its mortgage insurance because it can be more cost–effective.

The following chart shows FHA and conventional PMI costs assuming 3.5% down.

Credit ScoreFHA MIP Monthly Cost Per $100,000 BorrowedConv. PMI Monthly Cost Per $100,000 BorrowedMonthly FHA Savings Per $100,000 Borrowed

While FHA MIP is non–cancelable, it’s often the cheaper choice for home buyers.

Current FHA mortgage insurance rates

FHA MIP rates are as follows for 20–, 25– and 30–year FHA loans.

Original Loan AmountOriginal Down PaymentAnnual MIP

FHA loans with terms of 15 years or less qualify for reduced MIP, as low as 0.45% annually.

In addition, there is an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) required for FHA loans equal to 1.75% of the loan amount.

You may be entitled to a partial FHA MIP refund if refinancing into another FHA loan within three years.

Can you take cash out when you do a mortgage insurance elimination refi?

Some homeowners with a lot of equity built up may be eligible to tap into that equity via a cash–out refinance.

Conventional cash out loans allow you to take up to 80% of your home’s value. If that’s more than your existing balance, you get to keep the extra cash and avoid PMI.

FHA also has a cash–out offering, deemed the FHA cash out refinance. It allows loans up to 80% of your home’s value. However, you will still pay FHA mortgage insurance. So it’s best to consider the conventional version first.

FHA mortgage insurance FAQ

Does FHA require PMI without 20% down? 

PMI (private mortgage insurance) is required on conventional loans with less than 20% down. But the rules are different for FHA loans. All FHA loans require mortgage insurance premium (MIP), regardless of down payment size. That means new FHA loans come with a 1.75% upfront mortgage insurance payment, and 0.85% annual mortgage insurance payment, even with 20% down.

Can PMI be removed from FHA loans? 

Mortgage insurance (PMI) is removed from conventional mortgages once the loan reaches 78% loan–to–value ratio. But removing FHA mortgage insurance is a different story. Depending on your down payment, and when you first took out the loan, FHA mortgage insurance premium (MIP) usually lasts 11 years or the life of the loan. MIP will not fall off automatically. To remove it, you’ll have to refinance into another mortgage program once you reach 20% equity.

How do I get rid of FHA mortgage insurance?

If your FHA loan was originated before June 3, 2013, you might be eligible to get rid of mortgage insurance. Those older FHA loans are eligible for MIP elimination after five years – though the loan must be at 78% LTV or lower. If your FHA loan was originated on or after June 3, 2013, you are not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance cancellation. However, if you’ve built at least 20% equity in the home, you can get rid of MIP by refinancing into a different loan program. That usually means refinancing into a conventional loan with no PMI. Veterans could also look into VA loan options.

Are there lenders that specialize in FHA-to-conventional refinances?

Any lender that offers conventional loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can help you cancel your FHA MIP via a refinance. Any FHA–approved lender can help you reduce your payments via an FHA streamline loan. Shop around for the best rates. While most lenders in the U.S. offer conventional and FHA loans, each one will offer different rates for them.

How can I get rid of PMI without 20% down? 

If you currently pay PMI or MIP mortgage insurance, you can get rid of it by refinancing once your home reaches 20% equity. If you’re shopping for a new home loan, look for options that allow no PMI even without 20% down. Homebuyers without 20% down can avoid mortgage insurance with a piggyback loan, lender–paid mortgage insurance, or a specialized mortgage program that doesn’t require PMI.

How is mortgage insurance (MIP) calculated by FHA? 

Almost all FHA borrowers pay the same mortgage insurance rates. That includes an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) equal to 1.75% of the loan amount, paid at closing (though most people roll this cost into the loan balance) and an annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) equal to 0.85% of the loan amount, which is broken out and included in your monthly mortgage payments.

Does FHA mortgage insurance go down each year? 

FHA mortgage insurance rates do not go down each year. But your premium payments do. That’s because mortgage insurance payments are calculated based on your loan amount. So as your loan balance goes down each year, the dollar amount you pay for mortgage insurance is reduced as well.

Can FHA mortgage insurance increase? 

FHA can increase mortgage insurance at any time. But your existing MIP will not go up. As long as you stick with your original FHA loan (and don’t refinance into a new FHA mortgage), you’ll continue to pay your original mortgage insurance rate for as long as your MIP is due.

Is paying PMI or MIP worth it? 

Having mortgage insurance is often worth it. That’s because conventional loans with PMI, and FHA loans with MIP, let you buy a home with a much smaller down payment than you could otherwise. And FHA loans are extra lenient about credit. So if you don’t qualify for a mortgage without PMI or MIP, it might be best to bite the bullet and pay mortgage insurance for a few years. You’ll start building equity sooner. And you could refinance into a conventional loan with no PMI once you have 20% equity.

How do I get started?

Contact a lender and get a rate quote. Mortgage quotes come with an eligibility check and potentially an estimate of current home value.

Get a quote and get started canceling your FHA MIP today.

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