Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI is the supplemental insurance that many lenders have to purchase when the amount being loaned is more than 80% of the value of the home (LTV loan to value). This additional payment is often folded into the monthly mortgage payment and is quickly forgotten. After a rise in values and/or payment to principal goes below this 80% level PMI is no longer required. United States Congress passed a law in 1998 (the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998) that requires lenders to remove the PMI payments when the loan-to-value ratio conditions have been met. An appraisal is required to determine the property's value. The costs of these services are recovered in just a few months of not paying the PMI. With the recent decline in home values, a current appraisal of your residence can free you from the PMI Insurance requirement, paying for itself quickly in the money you will save you money in your monthly mortgage payment.