I live in California, have a reverse mortgage and would like to know what happens if my home were to burn down in a fire? Do my monthly payments or line of credit continue if I must rebuild? If my insurance will not cover my loss does the loan become due?

Insurance coverage works the same on a reverse mortgage as it does on a forward loan.  All hazard claims are paid jointly the owner and anyone listed as “additional insured” (the lender) until the repairs are completed at which time the lender will sign off on the checks once they have completed inspections to ensure the home has been rebuilt.

In the case of properties which are so badly damaged that they need to be repaired replaced in multiple draws, the lender will work with a draw schedule with the company doing the repairs so that money is released on a draw schedule as needed.

In this manner, if the contractor or the borrower does not complete the repairs, the lender can use the insurance proceeds to rebuild/repair the structure in accordance with the terms of the Deed of Trust.

The loan call provisions are defined in the docs.  The borrower must reasonably maintain the home which means that if the improvements are destroyed and not rebuilt, the borrower has not met the requirements of the loan.

In that case, the lender would keep the insurance proceeds and would be forced to accelerate the loan (call it due and payable) if the proceeds were insufficient to fully repay the loan and the borrower was unwilling/unable to rebuild.  They obviously could not keep the loan outstanding on a piece of land where there once was a house that burned to the ground.

Interruption of HECM Proceeds

I think the decision to interrupt monthly payments would depend on the degree of damage.  The borrowers must be living in the home to continue to receive the payments.  If there was damage that was repairable and they still occupied a habitable home, the payments would continue.

If the home was destroyed and the borrowers were forced to vacate the property, the lender would not continue to forward funds on a non-existent or inhabitable home.

I have never asked servicers this question about a home destroyed by fire but I did have occasion to ask CELINK about a home affected by a sinkhole in Florida several years back and this was the answer I received because those borrowers were also concerned about whether or not they would ever be able to rebuild based on the sink hole and the instability of the soil.

If you are concerned that you might not have adequate insurance, it would be wise for you to look into guaranteed replacement coverage so you are covered no matter what the cost to rebuild comes to.  That would certainly be up to you and your insurance agent.

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