How Much is Mortgage Insurance on a USDA Loan?

Unraveling USDA Loan Mortgage Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide

New home buyers admiring their new homeIf you're considering a USDA loan for your home purchase, the question of mortgage insurance is likely on your mind. Understanding how much this additional cost might amount to can make a significant difference in your financial planning.

Aspiring homeowners navigating the complexities of loans and insurance often find themselves grappling with this essential query: How Much is Mortgage Insurance on a USDA Loan? Let's delve into this crucial aspect that could impact your budgeting decisions.

The Basics of USDA Loans and Mortgage Insurance

All USDA loans require borrowers to pay mortgage insurance, which can be private mortgage insurance (PMI) or mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). This insurance safeguards lenders, especially when providing 100% financing to low-to-moderate-income individuals in rural areas.

Components of Mortgage Insurance

The mortgage insurance on a USDA loan comprises two integral components: an upfront guarantee fee and an annual fee.

1. Upfront Guarantee Fee: Typically 1% of the loan amount, this fee can be seamlessly rolled into the final loan amount, negating the need for out-of-pocket payments.

2. Annual Fee: Currently, 0.35% of the mortgage balance, this ongoing fee augments your mortgage by being disbursed through monthly payments.

These guarantee fees serve a dual purpose: they fund the USDA's rural housing programs and safeguard lenders who issue USDA loans.

A Comparative Look at Mortgage Insurance

A comparative analysis of mortgage insurance requirements across various government-backed options, such as USDA, FHA, and VA loans, proves illuminating when evaluating mortgages.

USDA: Upfront fee of 1%, plus an annual fee of 0.35%–0.50%. Mandatory for the entire loan duration.

FHA: 1.75% upfront fee, with an annual fee of 0.45%–0.8%. Offers the possibility of cancellation upon building equity.

Veteran Loan: There are no monthly mortgage insurance payments, but a funding fee of 2.3%–3.6% of the loan amount is charged.

While USDA loans offer 100% financing, it's essential to acknowledge that mortgage insurance adds to monthly costs.

Understanding the USDA Annual Fee

A crucial component of mortgage insurance in a USDA loan is the annual fee, also called the annual guarantee fee. This fee is 0.35% of the mortgage balance. It is distributed evenly and included in your monthly mortgage payment, contributing to the USDA home loan program.

For example, if you have a $200,000 loan, the annual fee would be approximately $700, adding an additional $58 to your monthly payment. Unlike PMI for conventional loans, this fee remains throughout the loan's duration and cannot be canceled even as your home equity increases.

Applying for a USDA Loan with PMI

To pursue a USDA home loan, follow these steps:

  1. Confirm Eligibility: Ensure the property is rural, and your household income falls below USDA limits based on location and family size.
  2. Find a Lender: Connect with lenders experienced in USDA loans, considering customer reviews and program familiarity.
  3. Calculate Costs: Factor in upfront and annual mortgage insurance fees in your monthly payment estimate.
  4. Submit Application: Provide necessary documents showcasing income, assets, and credit history.
  5. Get Approval: If approved, your lender will guide you through finalizing the USDA home loan.

While mortgage insurance increases costs, USDA loans offer benefits like low rates, 100% financing, and flexible credit requirements for eligible borrowers.

Understanding the USDA Guarantee Fee

Understanding the upfront guarantee fee is essential when obtaining a USDA home loan. This fee, set at 1% of the loan amount, can be included in the total loan balance at closing, eliminating the need for an initial upfront payment. For instance, on a $200,000 loan, the upfront guarantee fee would amount to $2,000, which is then rolled into the loan balance.

By spreading this 1% fee over the life of the loan, borrowers experience only slightly higher monthly payments without the requirement for a separate payment at closing. It's important to factor this into your overall mortgage payment planning.

Qualifying for a USDA Loan with Mortgage Insurance

To be eligible for a USDA loan with mortgage insurance, meet specific criteria:

  1. Income Limits: The USDA has set income ceilings that vary by location.
  2. Credit History: Minimum credit scores of around 640 are typically required, along with an overall credit report and score review.
  3. Debt-to-Income Ratio: The ratio of total monthly debt to gross monthly income shouldn't exceed predetermined limits, which are frequently around 45%.
  4. Home Location: The property must be in a rural or suburban area and be eligible under the USDA loan program.

Meeting these requirements allows lenders to determine the maximum loan amount based on income, debts, and the monthly housing budget.

Important Considerations

  1. USDA loans require upfront guarantee fees and annual mortgage insurance premiums.
  2. Monthly mortgage insurance costs persist for the life of a USDA loan.
  3. Compare mortgage insurance rates between USDA, FHA, and VA home loans.
  4. The USDA sets maximum income limits for qualification based on location.
  5. Collaborate with approved USDA lenders to confirm eligibility requirements.


In conclusion, understanding the cost of mortgage insurance on a USDA loan is crucial for prospective homebuyers in rural areas. By providing protection to lenders, this insurance allows borrowers to secure financing with lower down payments.

The monthly premium can vary based on factors such as the loan amount and term. Prospective buyers should carefully calculate these costs alongside their other expenses to make informed decisions on property affordability.

Ultimately, being well-informed about mortgage insurance rates can help buyers navigate the USDA loan process effectively and achieve their homeownership goals with confidence.