CMHC Insurance

Mortgage default insurance, also called CMHC Insurance, is mandatory in Canada for residential home purchases with down payments between the minimum down payment (5%) and 19.99%. Down payments of 20% or more do not require insurance. Mortgage default insurance exists to protect lenders should you stop making mortgage payments and default on your loan.

Here are some important facts about mortgage default insurance:

  • It costs home buyers between 2.80% and 4.00% of their mortgage amount.
  • It is not available on homes over $1 million, meaning a down payment of 20% or more is required on these homes.
  • If the purchase price is between $500,000 - $999,999 a higher down payment is required. The minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000, and 10% of the remaining amount.
  • CMHC-insured mortgages have a maximum amortization period of 25 years.
  • Insurance helps the homebuyer: Lenders can safely offer lower mortgage rates, as the risk is passed to the mortgage insurer. Without it, mortgage rates would be higher, due to a higher risk of default.

Mortgage default insurance rates and payment

The amount of mortgage default insurance is directly related to your down payment. Your insurance premium depends on the size of your down payment as a percentage of your total home purchase price.

Down Payment 5% - 9.99% 10% - 14.99% 15% - 19.99% 20%+
Insurance Premium 4.0% 3.1% 2.8% 0%
Zoo Tip!

The only way to lower the amount of insurance premium you’ll pay is to increase your down payment.

Your insurance premium is rolled into your mortgage amount, not paid off as a monthly bill or a lump sum like closing costs and legal fees. For example, if you have a mortgage for your home of $285,000 and your insurance is $11,400, you’d need to borrow $296,400 from your lender.

PST on mortgage default insurance

Although CMHC insurance is rolled into your mortgage and paid off over the duration of your loan, there is one cost you have to pay for up-front in cash.

If you live in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, or Quebec, you need to pay the provincial sales tax (PST) on your CMHC insurance on closing day.

Saskatchewan 6%
Manitoba 7%
Ontario 8%
Quebec 9.975%


You are buying a $400,000 home in Ontario and you have $40,000 to put down.

$40,000 = 10% down payment

CMHC insurance: 3.1% of mortgage amount with 10% down payment

Total mortgage amount: $400,000 - $40,000 = $360,000

CMHC insurance = $360,000 x 3.1% = $11,160

Ontario PST on CMHC amount = $11,160 x 8% = $893

Zoo Tip!

There are three providers of mortgage default insurance in Canada: The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Genworth Financial, and Canada Guaranty. The insurance rates are the same for all three providers.