Lenders and Insurance Proceeds

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The question that inspired this was

can a mortgage company use the flood insurance claim money towards homeowners mortgage loans?

This is equally applicable to every other form of insurance on your home - earthquake, regular homeowner's insurance, and any others that you may have or require.

The short answer is yes.

The reason that the lender requires being added to every policy of insurance you have on your home is so they have a claim on the policy proceeds. Let's say you buy a $500,000 home for nothing down, and the value of the structure is $150,000 while the value of the land is $350,000. Let's say the house burns down next week. If they weren't on there as beneficiary, you could theoretically take that check for $150,000 and split, leaving them with a $500,000 loan that they're maybe going to net $270,000 for by selling the property that secured it - after all the time for foreclosure, et al, which means they're out all those costs plus thousands of dollars in interest. If you're a lender, you're going to suffer this loss once at most before you decide not to trust anybody.

This is also a reason to keep your insurance updated, to the full value of what it's going to take to replace your property. It's a bummer to own a $500,000 house that burns down, and you're only insured for the $150,000 you owe the lender. Insurance is not a "Get out of trouble free" card. If you're not paying the insurance company for a policy large enough to cover a loss of the item, don't be surprised or angry when what they pay you doesn't replace it. In this case, you told them it would only take $150,000 to replace the asset, and that's how much coverage they sold you. They're not to blame if that's not enough.

On the other hand, the lender doesn't want the property or a partial repayment. They want the loan repaid in full. What they're going to do is sit on any funds they get and make certain they're used to rebuild, unless they have some reason to believe that rebuilding is a bad risk. Banks don't throw good money after bad, so if this is the case, they're going to keep the money. On the other hand, if you've been keeping your payments up, they're going to want you to rebuild. Their taking custody of the money is a way to make certain that you do.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on February 22, 2014 7:00 AM.

Why All The Fuss Over Real Estate Transactions? was the previous entry in this blog.

Why Do I Have to Pay For The Appraisal When I Canceled Escrow? is the next entry in this blog.

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