TIPS & FACTS
WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE & DO I NEED IT?
New homeowners want to focus on buying new furniture for the living room or painting walls, not worrying about having to pay a bill left behind by a previous owner.
Lenders require a title insurance policy to protect their investment. You should have a policy to protect your investment as well. For a one-time fee paid at closing, an owner’s policy can protect your property rights for as long as you or your heirs own the property. An owner’s policy protects you from:
Unpaid property taxes
Child support liens
Missing heirs who could claim the property belongs to him or her
Missed easements or rights of way that could limit your use of the property
There are two types of title insurance policies. As mentioned, the owner’s policy protects the home buyer. A loan policy protects the lender. Most lenders usually require a loan policy when they issue you a loan. The loan policy is based usually on the dollar amount of your loan. It only 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, usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase, provides protection for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.
The cost of a title insurance policy relative to the cost of a property transaction is about one-half to one percent of the purchase price. The premium is based on the purchase price of the property, generally determined by the value of the land plus any improvements.
Title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state laws and local real estate customs. Who pays for the owner’s policy varies from state to state. On the East Coast, the buyer typically pays. The seller normally pays on the West Coast. A discount may be available when both the owner’s and loan policy are purchased simultaneously. Ask your title company who pays in your area and if a discount is available.
It’s also important to note that the cost for title insurance may include other services provided by the title company such as the title search or conducting the closing. When comparing one rate to another, be sure to get detailed information on what is included in that rate, so you are comparing equally.
Title insurance rates are regulated by state insurance departments. In addition, title insurance and real estate closing practices are regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
CHICAGO TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY
FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY
WESTCOR LAND TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY