For loans closed after July 1999, lenders are required (by federal law) to automatically cancel Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) when the loan balance gets below 78 percent of your purchase price - but not when the loan reaches 22 percent equity. (The law does not include some higher risk mortgages.) The good news is that you can request cancellation of your PMI yourself (for a loan closing past July '99), regardless of the original purchase price, after the equity reaches twenty percent.
Familiarize yourself with your loan statements to keep your eye on principal payments. You'll want to stay aware of the the purchase amounts of the houses that sell in your neighborhood. If your loan is fewer than five years old, probably you haven't paid down much principal - you have been paying mostly interest.
At the point your equity has reached the required twenty percent, you are close to getting rid of your PMI payments, for the life of your loan. Contact your lender to ask for cancellation of PMI. Next, you will be required to submit proof that you are eligible to cancel. A state certified appraisal using the appropriate form (URAR-1004 - Uniform Residential Appraisal Report) is the best proof there is - and most lenders request one before they agree to cancel.