01/3/23

Five more questions answered about title insurance

As your title insurance and escrow providers, our teams never pass up a chance to share why title, the title search, and title insurance are so important to a real estate transaction. So, when we saw this recent piece from ALTA CEO Diane Tomb in HousingWire called “Protecting property rights with title insurance,” we knew we had to share it.  

As Diane says from the start, many of our fellow real estate professionals are well-versed in title, but some of our shared clients – and many of you reading this – may not be. So, let’s review!

Why title insurance?

It is costly to buy a home, and it could cost even more if the purchase comes with unknown tax liens, forged signatures or title defects. Title insurance is a one-time premium protection against all of these high-dollar headaches.

What goes into a title search 

An initial title search is included in the cost of your insurance policy. As Diane writes, that’s when we conduct a search of public records to underwrite ownership and lien risks. This means we review title and purchase data available to us through public records with a watchful eye. 

How much does a policy cost?

Rates, and how title insurance is paid for, are heavily regulated, but the cost of title insurance has actually decreased over the last few years. Plus, unlike other types of insurance, it’s only a one-time fee. No annual bills! These fees are also rolled into your closing cost and, as we just mentioned, are only paid once. If you have questions about your specific policy, ask us, and we’ll gladly address them.  

How long does a policy last?

The short answer is a lifetime. There’s a number of claims that could be made to contest ownership of a property, but title insurance is valid until the property deed legally changes hands. It can even follow the property if it’s passed down to an heir. 

Why is title insurance essential?

We’re glad you asked! Let’s go back to Diane for that answer. “Beyond a public records search, these (title) professionals review the title documents found in the search and help resolve outstanding issues, such as getting prior mortgages paid off or making sure there are no outstanding amounts owed to contractors… In every county across America, title professionals are working diligently to protect most Americans’ greatest investment — their home. Title insurance is — and will always be — essential.”

As proud ALTA members, we are here to help you unlock any questions or confusion regarding title insurance, as well as the settlement process. Let’s talk about all things title today!

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