Frequently Asked Questions About Title Insurance

Q: What is title?

A: Title is a collective term for one's legal rights to ownership of a property. 

Q:  What is title insurance?

A:  Title insurance protects property buyers and mortgage lenders against defects or problems such as fraud, forged signatures, liens, and documentation errors with a title when there is a change of property ownership. It is an insurance policy to protect and insure the homeowner and/or the mortgage lender. 

Q:  Why do you need title insurance?

A: The reason you need title insurance is to insure against financial loss resulting from unknown title defects at the time of the sale or the refinance. 

Q: Are there different types of title insurance?

A:  There are two types of title insurance the owner's policy and the lender's policy or loan policy. 

Owner's Policy-  Provides coverage up to the purchase price of the property and protection for the homeowner

Lender's Policy-   Protects the mortgage lender up to the amount of their loan.

Owner's policies and lender's policies are typically purchased together. 

Q:  Do I have to buy title insurance?

A:   Owner's Title Insurance is optional. Most mortgage companies, banks, and credit unions will require a Lender's Title Insurance policy  to protect their interest in the property. It is highly recommended to purchase title insurance in case of any known or unknown defects that may occur. 

·           Q:  How much does title insurance cost?

A:  The cost varies depending mainly on the value of the property. It is a one time fee at closing and the policy will cover you until you or your heirs no longer own the property. Get an estimated cost on our calculator

Q:  What is a title search?

A:  A title search is part of the home buying process that is conducted by the title company to uncover issues that could impede your right to the property and cause possible legal issues. 

Q: How long am I covered?

A:   Your owner’s insurance policy provides coverage as long as you or your heirs own the property.

Q: Why do I need title insurance on a brand new house? Why on a refinance?

A:   Although you may be purchasing a newly built home, there were most likely previous owners of the land. Refinance title insurance is usually offered at a reduced rate and assures the lender that you own the property. 

Q: What is escrow and who handles it?

A:  A settlement service of escrow describes the process of a third party (somebody who is neither the buyer nor the seller) holding the money until the closing. The settlement agent holds down payment and the lender's proceeds.

Q:  What is the closing?

A: The closing is the point at which all the documents are signed and funds are dispersed. After the closing, the house is yours.

Q: Do I need a lawyer to close a real estate transaction?

A: Simple real estate transactions can be handled without a lawyer, but you may want a lawyer to clarify unfamiliar terms in the documents you are asked to sign and to review the purchase agreement. 

Q:  Can I pick my own title company when refinancing or purchasing a property?

A: You have the right to choose your own title insurance company. If you want to use a specific title company it must be noted to your lender at the time of submitting your loan application. When refinancing, you have the right to choose the title company. 

Q: What is the difference between an enhanced policy and a standard policy? 

A: An Enhanced Policy provides additional coverage to a Standard Policy, such as: inflation protection, fraud and forgery protection, easements, boundary line protection, zoning, subdivision and building permit violations, expanded insured, future encroachments, reversion of title, and legal fees. While a standard policy is suffice, an enhanced policy covers post-policy issues mentioned above.