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Escrow Accounts - FAQs

Escrow Accounts

What's an escrow account?

An account you fund each month as part of your total monthly payment. We use it to make property tax and insurance payments for you. Items like mortgage insurance and flood insurance may also get paid from the account. Read more about how escrow accounts work or watch a video about it.

Why am I required to have an escrow account?

Most of the time, escrow accounts are required if your down payment was less than 20%. There are benefits to having an escrow account, even if it isn’t required. It helps you manage large expenses like property taxes and insurance premiums so you don’t have to save for them separately. You make 1 combined mortgage and escrow payment each month and we deposit a portion into your escrow account. When your property tax and insurance bills are due, we pay them on your behalf.

How can I open an escrow account?

If you don't have an escrow account with us and want to open one, we'd be happy to help you. Please call us at:
1-800-357-6675
Mon – Fri: 6 am – 10 pm
Sat: 8 am – 2 pm
Central Time

Where can I find more information about my escrow account?

You can:

  • Access your mortgage account online. Sign on to your mortgage account to check your escrow account balance and see when tax and insurance payments are made from that account. Sign up now if you don’t already have online account access.
  • Check your escrow review statement. We review your escrow account at least once a year and send you a statement each time. It shows your previous escrow account activity, and projected future activity, including any changes to your total monthly payment.

Does Wells Fargo pay interest on escrow?

We pay interest on escrow in certain states. We do this in accordance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and applicable state laws.

What's a minimum balance?

Sometimes taxes and insurance are higher than expected. To be prepared, you're required to keep a minimum balance in your account at all times. This helps make sure any unexpected increases are covered. Your minimum balance varies by state but is calculated to not be more than 2 months of escrow payments. Learn more about how escrow accounts work.

Escrow payments

What bills are paid from an escrow account?

The money in your escrow account pays:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Mortgage insurance (if it’s required)
  • Flood insurance (if it’s required)

Learn more about these types of insurance.

It doesn’t pay:

  • Interim tax bills, special or added tax assessments, or any other fees that are not included in your property tax bill
  • Homeowners association fees
  • Premiums for non-required insurance policies, such as separate personal property insurance
  • Supplemental tax bills, except in California

You’ll pay these separately.

How is my escrow amount determined?

We:

  • Estimate how much your taxes and insurance will cost over the next 12 months. We base this on your loan closing documents, taxing authority, and insurance company.
  • Divide that by 12 and add it to your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Determine if your account keeps the minimum balance required throughout the year or if your payment needs to be adjusted so your account stays balanced.

Watch a video about how escrow is calculated.

Where can I see how much my taxes and insurance cost?

Sign on to your mortgage account online and select the Escrow Details link to see the most recent amounts paid for your property taxes and insurance premiums. Keep in mind that these amounts reflect payments we've already made. If they don't match your most recent tax and insurance bills, it's because we haven’t paid those yet.

Why didn't my payment go down when my taxes or insurance did?

We review your escrow account at least once a year. If you want us to recalculate your payments sooner, please contact us. We can review your account ahead of schedule, as long as it’s at least 60 days before your next yearly review.

Why are you collecting funds when I paid my taxes and insurance premiums at closing?

The payments you made at closing were for your initial deposit or for bills that were due immediately. You'll put funds into escrow each month for future property taxes and insurance premiums.

If my escrow amount changes, do the automatic payments I've scheduled get adjusted?

If you've set up automatic mortgage payments with:

  • Our Preferred Payment PlanSM or Transfer Money & Make Payments in Wells Fargo Online®, we'll adjust your payments.
  • Our online Bill Pay service, you'll need to update the amount.
  • A non-Wells Fargo bill pay service, you'll need to update the amount.

Do I need to send you my tax and insurance bills each time they're due?

No. We usually get them from your local property tax office and insurance company. We'll let you know if we need you to send the bills to us.

Yearly escrow review

What’s an escrow review?

Each year, we review your account to make sure the escrow portion of your total monthly payment covers your property taxes and insurance premiums, while also maintaining the minimum balance your account must have. Changes to your property taxes and insurance premiums may cause your monthly payment to change. We’ll send you an escrow statement after each review (some exceptions apply based on your account status). Learn more about your yearly escrow review.

What's a shortage?

If the funds in your escrow account are projected to be below your minimum balance at the lowest point in the 12-month period, you have a shortage. This can happen if the taxes or insurance premiums for the previous 12 months were more than expected. Or, if they're estimated to go up in the next 12 months.

You can make up a shortage in 1 of 2 ways:

  • Pay it in full. Send a check for the full amount and we’ll put it in your escrow account.
  • Pay it over 12 months. We'll add a portion to your monthly payment.

We'll send you an escrow statement after each review that details all of this.

What’s an overage?

If your escrow account is projected to have more than the minimum balance required at its lowest point in the 12-month period, you have an overage. This happens if the taxes or insurance premiums for the previous 12 months were less than expected. Or, if they're estimated to go down in the next 12 months. In most cases, we’ll send you a refund check for that amount.