Fires and Reverse Mortgages

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Fires and Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are typically used by retirees who are in need of money yet have substantial equity in their houses. The fact that their reverse mortgage becomes due if their property is no longer in good shape is something that many of them are unaware of.

What transpires then with their reverse mortgage if the house is destroyed in a fire?

Key Takeaways

  • If you don’t keep your property insured, your reverse mortgage will become owing.
  • If the property is not kept in excellent shape, the reverse mortgage will become payable.
  • If a fire damages your house, your insurance company will make repairs, and you won’t have to pay the rest.
  • Without insurance, you may not be able to fix your house and might face foreclosure if you can’t afford repairs.

What Is a Reverse Mortgage?

A standard forward mortgage and a reverse mortgage are quite different from one another. Reverse mortgages are intended exclusively for retirees with fully paid off mortgages or residences that they own outright. They let the borrower to get a loan using the value of their property as security. Only when the borrower vacates the property, passes away, or fails to maintain it in good shape with current homeowners insurance does the reverse mortgage become payable.

Insurance Coverage and Reverse Mortgages

To preserve the lender’s investment, you must maintain homeowners insurance on your house if you have a reverse mortgage.

1,291,500

The quantity of fires in the United States in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

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Reverse Mortgages with Insurance

In the event that a wildfire damages your house and you have appropriate insurance, the damage will be remedied and your reverse mortgage will not become due. To ensure that you have enough coverage to repair your house in the case of a fire, be sure to check over your coverage limitations with your insurance agent.

The cost of building and materials nowadays is so high that insurance coverage is sometimes insufficient to rebuild a house. After the Marshall Fire in December 2021 destroyed more than 1,000 houses in Boulder County, Colorado, many residents learned this lesson the hard way. If any of those victims have a reverse mortgage, they may run into trouble with their lender if they are unable to swiftly get their homes fixed because of inadequate insurance.

Reverse Mortgages with No or Inadequate Insurance

You must maintain current homeowner’s insurance if you have a reverse mortgage. Your reverse mortgage will become payable regardless of whether your house is burned down if you don’t have property insurance. If this occurs, you will get a notice of default, which often outlines your options to appeal as well as a deadline for fixing the problem.

You may still have choices if your insurance won’t pay for the necessary house repairs or replacements. For recommendations on regional initiatives with funding in place expressly to assist seniors in fixing up their houses, get in touch with your neighborhood Aging Services agency.

If a wildfire has destroyed your house, you’ll have additional alternatives accessible to you, particularly if the Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared a disaster (FEMA).FEMA has money available to affected homeowners once a catastrophe has been declared to repair and replace anything that their homes insurance doesn’t cover. FEMA could also be able to assist with the cost of temporary housing.

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Will my reverse mortgage become due if my house is damaged in a fire?

Your reverse mortgage will not become owing if your house suffers fire damage as long as it is fixed. However, your reverse mortgage will become payable if your house is not fixed because there is insufficient insurance coverage.

How will I pay for housing if my home is damaged in a fire?

Your insurance coverage will determine how much you have to spend for housing if a fire damages your house. If your homes insurance includes loss-of-use coverage, you may be eligible for financial aid to cover the cost of temporary lodging as well as basic needs like toiletries. Your neighborhood Aging Services group may be able to assist you in finding accommodation if you don’t have coverage.

Will the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) help after my home is damaged in a fire?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency won’t be able to assist you if your home sustains damage in a typical house fire (FEMA).However, if a wildfire that destroyed your property was recognized as a catastrophe by FEMA, you may be able to obtain funding for repairs, assistance finding and securing temporary accommodation, and assistance with other requirements like medical care.

The Bottom Line

It is terrible to have your house damaged by a fire. Especially if you have a reverse mortgage, be sure you have enough insurance coverage to fix your house in the worst-case scenario. If you don’t have enough coverage, you’ll have to rely on support from neighborhood organizations to make repairs so you can stay in your house.

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