June 29th, 2022
Buying a property for the first time can be very exciting but sometimes also overwhelming. It's probably the most significant investment of your lifetime, and there's quite a lot to keep up with along the way. Each step of the real estate transaction process might be unfamiliar, from obtaining financing to making an offer and closing the deal.
Another thing that might be new to you is the concept of escrow insurance. If you're taking out a mortgage, your lender will probably require you to have one to make sure you have enough money to cover the related expenses, including your homeowners insurance. It’s an unavoidable expense for most homeowners, but taking care of it with an escrow account can make things a little easier.
Read on to learn the ins and outs of escrow insurance accounts as we break down how they work when it comes to paying your homeowners insurance premiums.
Opening an escrow account makes it easy to manage property taxes and insurance premiums for your home. It’s a very convenient and safe way of paying all bills when they’re due, as you don’t have to save for them separately or pay annual lump-sum expenses all at once because through escrow, you make monthly payments, where:
When your taxes and homeowners insurance fall due, your mortgage lender uses the funds in your escrow account to pay those bills on your behalf. As you make these monthly payments, the loan servicer will set aside a portion of your mortgage payment and hold it in your account to cover taxes and insurance payments associated with the property. For example, your homeowners insurance will be paid out of the escrow account.
Does escrow pay home insurance? In short, yes. Your escrow account is specifically designed to pay for your homeowners insurance premium each month, as well as property taxes. Keep in mind that your escrow funds won’t be used to cover expenses related to homeownership, like your utility bills or HOA fees.
Homeowners insurance, also called home insurance, is a type of property insurance that covers your home, its contents, and more. Homeowners insurance policies generally cover destruction and damage to a residence's interior and exterior, the loss or theft of personal belongings, and injury that arises while on the property. You pay an annual premium for the coverage, and the insurance company pays for any covered losses up to your insurance policy’s limits.
Home insurance isn't a luxury. It's more of a necessity, and not just because it protects your property against destructive events. Most mortgage companies require borrowers to have insurance coverage for their property and won't make a loan or finance a residential real estate transaction without proof of insurance. Using an escrow home insurance account for your homeowners insurance payments provides protection to both you and your lender.
A homeowners insurance escrow account is a separate bank account designed to house money set aside each month to pay for several essential mortgage items, including homeowners insurance. Paying home insurance through an escrow account is very convenient as your policy premium is essentially rolled into one account. It also guarantees you'll have enough money to cover lump sum property taxes and homeowners insurance payments when they’re due.
Paying your homeowners premium and property taxes through an escrow account isn’t required for all home loans but is common. Many homeowners home insurance payments are part of their monthly mortgage payment and are typically kept in an escrow account. The benefits of an escrow account are many, but it comes down to whether you like to be more hands-off when it comes to your monthly payments and value agency over your account.
It’s also worth noting that an escrow account has no impact on your insurance premiums, so it doesn't make home insurance cheaper or more expensive. However, homeowners premiums and annual property taxes can fluctuate. When such changes occur, the mortgage servicing company will simply adjust the amount you must pay to the escrow account.
Whether or not you should get homeowners insurance escrow is up to you and your mortgage lender. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if you prefer making the monthly payments yourself or if you want to have that process automated. Understanding the pros and cons of paying homeowners insurance with an escrow account will help you make the best decision for your needs.
The cons of homeowners insurance escrow? You will probably have to make a larger upfront payment since you are generally required to prepay homeowners insurance, and you could miss out on short-term investment opportunities by not saving the money in your own account. Nonetheless, as mentioned above, some states allow you to earn interest even from the escrow account.
Your homeowners insurance premium is included in your mortgage payment if you have an escrow account. When you pay your mortgage through escrow insurance, a portion of the overall payment is set aside in your escrow account to pay for your homeowners insurance and property taxes (and mortgage insurance if your lender requires it). This way, all insurance and property taxes are automatically paid from the escrow account when they're due.
Homeowners insurance can be paid through an escrow account or directly by you to your insurance company. Whether or not you can pay your home insurance yourself depends on how your mortgage is set up.
Some may have the option to pay their property taxes and homeowners insurance themselves. However, most mortgage servicers require an escrow account for borrowers whose down payment is less than 20 percent. If your home is paid off, you will not have an escrow account, and you’ll pay your premium to the insurance company directly.
With an escrow account, your homeowners insurance will be paid yearly. If you don't have an escrow account, you can typically choose to pay for your home insurance monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or yearly.
Modern home insurance is very customizable, and many carriers are offering extensive coverage and incentives for signing up, such as discounts on your premium. You do not have to wait until your renewal date to change your homeoweners insurance escrow to a new carrier - you can change companies in the middle of your policy term.
Paying your home insurance through escrow can be convenient, but if you want to change insurance providers, things can get a little tricky. So, how do you change homeowners insurance with an escrow account? Here’s what you need to do:
Changing home insurance through escrow doesn’t cost anything because all your lender has to do is update where they send your funds. If you paid the full coverage amount upfront but end up canceling your policy before the end date, you’ll receive a refund check for that allotted time. However, you could face a small fee for canceling your previous policy before it ends.
There are a few ways you can lower your escrow payments. You can dispute your property taxes if you think your property tax bill is too high, shop around for cheaper homeowners insurance premiums, or request a cancellation of your private mortgage insurance. You can also ask your lender to reevaluate your monthly escrow payment if you have evidence that shows you’re currently overpaying into escrow.
Escrow is a vital part of real estate, especially when purchasing a home. Having an escrow insurance account can give you peace of mind by helping you budget the tiresome annual costs of being a homeowner. Trust and experience are essential in choosing an escrow company as escrow accounts are often a target for scams because of the large funds held in one place. Reputation for speed of transaction and competitive fees is also important.
Yes, real estate deals can be complicated, but we make them simple. Light Speed is a full-service escrow committed to making transactions quick, seamless, and affordable throughout Southern California, whether you are a first-time or seasoned home buyer.
Get in touch for reliable, expert, and fast escrow services today!