Title insurance protects your right to some of your largest investments you’ll ever make!
As a buyer you want to protect your investment -- and the ownership rights that come with it. This is why it's wise to purchase an owner's policy of title insurance, which will protect your rights as the homeowner, generally for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.
Both title insurance policies not only pay valid claims and legal fees to defend against hidden title issues, but also help to decrease ownership risks by providing a thorough title search prior to the issuance of either policy.
A lender's policy (often called a loan policy) is required by most lending institutions as a way to insure their security interest in the property. This policy protects the bank or other lending institution for as long as they maintain an interest in the property (typically until your mortgage is paid off).
Some owners may chose to put either a federal or a state issued easement on their property. An easement may be defined as an interest acquired by one person in the land of another which entitles the owner of the easement to limit use or enjoyment of the other person’s land. In a USA Policy we work with the appropriate organization to insure their easement interest in the property.
Simply stated, title is evidence of ownership with the right of exclusive possession and use of property. A good title is one that can be defended successfully against adverse claims.
Title insurance is the insurance of owners of property or others having interest therein or liens or encumbrances thereon, against loss by encumbrance, or defective titles, or invalidity, or adverse claim to title. SDCL 58-9-33
Insurance such as car, life, health, etc., protects against potential future events and is paid for with monthly or annual premiums. A title insurance policy insures against events that occurred in the past of the real estate property and the people who owned it, for a one-time premium paid at the close of the escrow.
Title insurance protects against claims from defects. Defects are things such as another person claiming an ownership interest, improperly recorded documents, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements and other items that are specified in the insurance policy.
Buyers and lenders need title insurance in order to be insured against various possible title defects. The buyer, seller and lender all benefit from issuance of a title insurance policy.
Because title insurance protects both home buyers and lenders, there are two types to suit the end user’s needs:
A lender’s policy is generally required when a lender issues a mortgage loan. The loan policy is usually based on the dollar amount of the loan and it protects the lender’s interests in the property should a problem with the title arise. It does not protect the buyer. The policy amount decreases each year and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off.
An owner’s policy, purchased at closing, provides coverage for the homeowner. It is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase and is valid for as long as the owner or his heirs have an interest in the property. Only an owner’s policy fully protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise with the title that was not found during the title search. Possible hidden title problems can include:
Errors or omissions in deeds
Mistakes in examining records
There are two types of owner’s title insurance policies certified by the American Land Title Association® (ALTA®):
The owner’s policy protects you from defects and liens in the history of your title through the date and time your deed is recorded in the public records.
The homeowner’s policy takes your protection to a higher level by providing coverage for many additional risks, including some that might occur after the deed has been recorded. The Homeowner’s policy protects against many common, frustrating problems, and the policy protects your investment for as long as you or your heirs own the property.
State laws and customs vary on who pays for title insurance, but here’s who generally pays for title insurance:
Home buyers typically cover costs for lender’s title insurance as they are the one who is taking a loan from the mortgage lender.
The person who pays for owner’s insurance can vary. Sometimes, the seller could pay for the title policy as an offering to help with the sale of their property.
After the escrow officer or lender opens the title order, we begin a title search. A title order begins with an in-depth search starting with a review of public records. The search can be complex because, depending on your geographic location, property information may be filed any number of ways. We have created systematic search methods and a large information database that lead to faster and more accurate research.
Title searches uncover possible title issues, like liens, judgments and information on prior loans, sewer assessments taxes and other issues. Newly constructed properties still require a thorough search, as the land has likely changed hands many times, and there is no guarantee that subcontractors or suppliers have not placed liens on the property. The data collected from a title search helps reduce the risk of future title problems with your home and makes your title policy—and the process of underwriting it—a valuable investment.
Once search is completed a Preliminary Report is issued to the customer for review and approval. All closing documents are recorded upon escrow’s instruction. When recording has been confirmed, demands are paid, funds are disbursed, and the actual title insurance policy is created.
The Owner’s Policy insures the new owner/home buyer, and a lender’s policy insures the priority of the lender’s security interest.