A mortgage lender has helped to answer a common question about the relative effects of illness and death on home mortgage foreclosure rates.

Disability insurance, experts say they have had a hard time tracking down the sources of some of the commonly quoted statistics dealing with that subject.

Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., recently reported during a presentation for analysts that “curtailment of income” was the primary cause of 58% of foreclosures recorded in July.

Illness and other medical problems were responsible for 13% of the foreclosures, and death was responsible for only 3.6% of the foreclosures.

Other primary drivers included divorce, which caused 8.4% of the foreclosures; problems an investment property or inability to sell a property, 6.1%; and low regard for property ownership, 5.5%.

Countrywide did not talk about how many cases involved both illness of the borrower and illness-related loss of income.