Skip to main content

Escrow Resources

Homeowners Homeowners Resources Escrow Resources

Escrow video tutorials


Learn about escrow and the annual escrow account analysis performed on your account. 


If you have an escrow surplus, learn about your refund options. 


If you have an escrow shortage, learn about your payment options. 

What does your escrow account pay for?

Items typically paid from your escrow account can include: 

  • Property taxes
  • Some utility taxes
  • Homeowners (or hazard) insurance
  • Mortgage Insurance — MIP/PMI/RHS (if required by your loan)
  • Flood insurance (if required by your loan)
  • Wind insurance

Other items that can be paid from your escrow account, but are not included in your monthly payment:

  • Special or added assessments
  • Interim or supplemental tax bills
  • Water and other utility tax bills not collected in your monthly payment
  • Per capita tax bills: taxes from your municipality or school district

Frequently asked questions

Escrow is a money reserve you conveniently pay into each month along with your mortgage payment.

Cenlar collects these escrow funds and holds them in a separate account, so the funds are available to be paid when your taxes and insurance are due.  

Typical items escrow pays for include:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Any flood or wind insurance
  • Any mortgage insurance a loan might require
  • Some types of utility taxes

In most cases, the items below are not paid from the escrow account and must be paid directly by the homeowner:

  • Municipal or school district taxes
  • Special or added assessments
  • Per capita tax bills

Each year, Cenlar will analyze your escrow account to make sure the right amount is being contributed to maintain the minimum required balance. As a result of the escrow analysis, your monthly payment may increase or decrease due to changing tax and/or insurance costs. This is known as an escrow shortage or surplus.

If your escrow account has a shortage, it is typically spread over a period of 12 months, along with your regular mortgage payment. The full shortage can also be paid up front, if preferred. In either case, your mortgage payment may increase to make sure there is enough money in the account for the following year.

No interest will be charged on the shortage amount. When your escrow account has a shortage, it is typically spread of a period of 12 months, along with your regular mortgage payment or if you prefer, the shortage can be paid up front.

If your escrow account has a surplus that is over $50, you may receive a check in the amount of the surplus, or you can use the amount towards a future payment if you wish.

If your loan does not have an escrow account, you may request that Cenlar set up an account for you. Cenlar will calculate the amount of funds needed to get started.

If you would like to have your escrow requirement waived or stopped, you must submit a signed, written request to Cenlar. Cenlar will then review your loan for escrow waiver eligibility. Based on the type of loan you have, you may be required to maintain escrow, at least until certain loan conditions are met.

If you make changes to your homeowner’s insurance, Cenlar will need to do an escrow analysis. Please inform Cenlar in a timely manner and provide us with a copy of your insurance renewal on an annual basis using one of the following methods: