High ratio, conventional, insured, insurable and uninsurable


The reward for making a larger down payment in the past was a lower rate.  However, with recent changes in mortgage rules many lenders now have a higher rate for those with larger down payments.  In the past mortgages were looked at as high ratio (less than 20% down) and conventional (20% or more down). Now mortgages are looked at as insured, insurable and uninsurable. Each with a different possible interest rate.  Here is the break down of high ratio and conventional mortgages vs. insured, insurable and uninsurable mortgages.

High ratio, conventional, insured, insurable and uninsurable

High ratio

Those with a down payment of less than 20% and a mortgage insurer cost such as a CMHC premium charged to the client have a mortgage called high ratio.


Down payment of 20% or more. No mortgage insurer cost to the client. The lender may or may not insure the mortgage.


A mortgage, regardless of the down payment amount that has mortgage insurance paid for by the client.


A mortgage that is bulk insured by the lender at their expense, the mortgage qualifies with insurer guidelines and has a down payment of 20%.  Example insurer guidelines are an amortization no longer than 25 years, benchmark rate used for qualifying, property valued at less than $1,000,000 and so on.


A mortgage that does not meet mortgage insurer guidelines is called uninsurable. For example, refinances, rental properties, amortizations of more than 25 years, properties valued at $1,000,000 or more.

What does this all mean when looking to get the best mortgage rates in Ottawa?

Insured mortgages will have the most favourable rate followed by insurable mortgages. Uninsurable mortgages will see the least favourable rates.

As an example, one major bank is currently offering 3.14% for an insured mortgage, 3.24% for an insurable mortgage, 3.34% for an uninsurable mortgage and 3.39% for a rental property.

As you can see there is a lot of details that go into a mortgage interest rate now.

Some of the government mortgage rule changes that stimulated these changes are the increase to mortgage insurer fees that took place March 2017.  Also, a change in October 2017 that prohibited lenders from being able to purchase insurance on conventional mortgages. Lenders needed to increase the cost as a result of this which results in higher rates.

With an insured mortgage, the mortgage insurance is there to protect the lender against mortgage default, fraudulent activity and other challenges that may arise.

For an insurable and uninsurable mortgage the borrower pays a higher rate which assists the lender in having their own insurance premium and reducing their risk.

If you have any more questions about high ratio and conventional mortgages vs. insured, insurable and uninsurable I am here anytime to assist.

andrew thake about

About Andrew Thake

Andrew Thake is a seasoned mortgage broker with over 15 years of industry experience. He’s assisted more than 2,200 clients in finding their ideal mortgage solutions. Recognized for his excellence, Andrew has received high honours and awards, including the National Rookie of the Year from TD Canada Trust and recognition as a Top 10 Ottawa Mortgage Broker in 2023. He has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Dominion Lending Centres and has consistently received their Platinum Award during his tenure as a mortgage broker.

Andrew’s dedication lies in serving his clients and prioritizing their needs with an empathetic approach. Throughout the application process, he provides tailored, informed, and efficient services to ensure the best mortgage solutions for his client’s unique circumstances. The best part of Andrew’s job is when he gets to see the joy on his clients’ faces following their mortgage approval.

Why not make your mortgage experience a comfortable one?

Book an Appointment