Term Life Insurance vs Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage or Term Life Insurance for Singapore properties

Being a homeowner is one of the major milestones in life, which many people strive towards along the path of true adulting. If you are a soon-to-be homeowner, you may realise that the costs of a house lies beyond the purchase price, and there’s always the “what if” to think about.

What if you are unable to finance your mortgage loan due to an unexpected event (touch wood!)? Let’s face it, your property would likely be one of the most expensive assets that you purchase in your lifetime, and it is common for people to take up loans for the housing purchase.

However, in the unfortunate event when a homeowner passes away during his/her home loan tenure, the duty to service the loan will be transferred to their loved ones. To protect our loved ones from unexpected debts, mortgage insurance or term life insurance are tools that we can consider. If you have been wondering which option to choose, read on for further insights on mortgage insurance and term life insurance.

What is Mortgage Insurance?

Commonly offered as Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA) in Singapore, mortgage insurance ensures you that you can service your mortgage repayment for the entirety of your home loan tenure in unforeseen events such as death or total permanent disability.

In simple terms, mortgage insurance is your back-up plan to ensure that your family and loved ones will always have a shelter over their head and not be laden by housing debts in unforeseen circumstances. In the unfortunate event of your demise, mortgage insurance shall pay the balance of your mortgage.

Do you see the importance of planning for unexpected events now?

Is Mortgage Insurance compulsory in Singapore?

Credits: GIPHY

Some of you may be wondering if mortgage insurance is compulsory in Singapore. Well, mortgage insurance is so important that HDB buyers are mandated to be on the Home Protection Scheme (HPS) – a mortgage-reducing insurance – if they are using CPF funds to repay their home loans.

One can only be exempted if you have MRTA, life insurance or endowment policies substantial enough to cover your outstanding housing loan up to the full term of loan or 65 years old.

Although mortgage insurance is optional for homeowners of private residences, one is highly recommended to be insured, and some banks may tie up with a mortgage insurer to offer more attractive loan interest rates.

What is Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance are life protection plans that are fixed for a certain period, and these are practical solutions to protect assets or provide for loved ones in times of need. Term life insurance is a common alternative to mortgage insurance when it comes to securing one’s home loans.

Why do people choose term life insurance over mortgage insurance?

Flexibility in the form of a fixed sum payout
Whereas that payout for mortgage insurance is attached to housing debt, term life insurance offers a fixed sum payout based on the amount that you have insured for. This means that you can buy sufficient coverage to meet all of your family’s needs, and not just the repayment of the mortgage. In the case of an unfortunate event, a fixed sum payout would give your loved ones the flexibility to use the funds to their discretion.

Benefits paid to your beneficiary instead of your creditor
One of the main differences between mortgage insurance and term life insurance lies in the claims payout to potentially different entities. The former is pegged to one’s mortgage loan, and claims that is meant to pay off the remaining mortgage shall be paid to the policyholder, which could be the creditor. On the other hand, benefits of a term life insurance will be made to you or your beneficiary, and they can deem fit to use the funds according to their immediate needs.

Perceived greater value as compared to mortgage insurance
Mortgage insurance is tied to the balance on your mortgage — meaning the death benefit decreases in tandem, even though your premiums will likely remain the same. On the other hand, the coverage for term life insurance remains the same during the policy tenure.  For this reason, many have the perception that mortgage insurance’s value is lesser than that of standard term life. In actual fact, you get what you pay for.

Credits: GIPHY

Term life insurance may not necessarily be cheaper than mortgage insurance, although you may get lucky with the right plan that suits your needs. So which is better?

Mortgage Insurance vs Term Life Insurance

Here’s a list of considerations to think about when you are choosing between term life insurance and mortgage insurance as a backup for your housing loans.

Consideration Factors Mortgage Insurance Term Life Insurance
Main coverage / benefit Mortgage loan

  • Coverage will reduce over time
Life protection

  • Coverage will remain level throughout policy term
Limits on sum assured Maximum up to mortgage loan amount Based on your preferred amount, subject to insurer’s allowed limits
Renewal premium Premiums tend to remain the same while coverage reduces Premiums and coverage remain the same in a fixed period
Claims recipient Policy owner (i.e. could be the bank, or insured person) Appointed beneficiary
  • If you shift premises, mortgage insurance can usually be transferred to a new property. Note, this does not apply to HPS.
  • Flexibility to add-on coverage for critical illnesses
  • The coverage is attached to you, and not your property, so you are insured even when you shift premises
  • Flexibility to add-on coverage for critical illnesses
  • Mortgage loan interest follows a fluctuating interest rate while an MRTA’s sum assured reduces based on a fixed schedule of interest rate instead. Hence, it’s possible that there’s a deficit in coverage should there be a rise in interest rates or when the loan borrower skips a few loan installments.
  • Possibility of insufficient coverage as one gets to decide on your own coverage
  • Policy term should cover the length of the mortgage loan

Find out more about mortgage insurance here.
Find out more about term life insurance here.

Amid the current pandemic crisis, Singapore’s private home sales volume has been increasing steadily since Phase 2 of reopening. Nevertheless, a recent report on Asia Mortality Protection Gap 2020 revealed that households in Singapore does not have sufficient coverage.

Be it mortgage insurance or term life insurance, proper planning and protection is essential to counter unexpected events in life. We hope this article has given you a clearer idea of your choices for protecting mortgage loans.


Information is accurate as at 13 September 2020. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

As buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment, an early termination of the policy usually involves high costs and the surrender value, if any, that is payable to you may be zero or less than the total premiums paid. You should seek advice from a financial adviser before deciding to purchase the policy. If you choose not to seek advice, you should consider if the policy is suitable for you. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Tiq by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.

A digital insurance channel that embraces changes to provide simple and convenient protection, Tiq’s mission is to make insurance transparent and accessible, inspiring you today to be prepared for life’s surprises and inevitabilities, while empowering you to “Live Unlimited” and take control of your tomorrow.

With a shared vision to change the paradigm of insurance and reshape customer experience, Etiqa created the strong foundation for Tiq. Because life never stops changing, Etiqa never stops progressing. A licensed life and general insurance company registered in the Republic of Singapore and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Etiqa is governed by the Insurance Act and has been providing insurance solutions since 1961. It is 69% owned by Maybank, Southeast Asia’s fourth largest banking group, with more than 22 million customers in 20 countries; and 31% owned by Ageas, an international insurance group with 33 million customers across 16 countries.
Discover the full range of Tiq online insurance plans here.



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