What is Title Insurance?
Title Insurance is an insured statement of the condition of your “title” or ownership rights to a certain piece of real property. A title insurance policy describes your property in detail and states what limitations, if any, there are to your ownership. A title insurance policy guarantees that the property you are purchasing is free and clear of undisclosed liens, confusion in the rights of ownership and other clouds in title. In short, it guarantees that you own the property for which you bargained.
Why Title Insurance?
Simply stated, a title insurance policy provides you with peace of mind knowing that title to your single biggest investment is secure. Title insurance takes the risk out of acquiring property whose legal history is unknown to you. While there should be no risks in transferring property, they certainly do exist. Through the years, your new property may have changed hands many times through sale, inheritance, foreclosure or bankruptcy. Each transfer was an opportunity for an error in title to arise. If an error occurred and has never come to light, it puts your title in jeopardy. You could lose your property and the money you paid for it. And, even if you successfully defend your rights of ownership, the cost in time and legal fees could be cost prohibitive.
What Risks Does Title Insurance Cover?
Among the many hidden risks against which an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy protects you are:
- Mistakes in recording legal documents
- Forged deeds, releases or wills
- Undisclosed or missing heirs
- Deeds by mentally incompetent persons
- Deeds by minors
- Deeds executed by invalid or expired power of attorney
- Liens for unpaid taxes
- Undisclosed but recorded federal or state tax liens
- Undisclosed but recorded prior mortgages, judgments or lawsuits affecting the land
How Long Does Title Insurance Coverage Last?
An Owner’s Title Insurance Policy remains in force as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.