Why Do You Need Title Insurance?
Most kinds of insurance are self-explanatory. Fire insurance protects against losses from fire. Auto insurance pays for damage or theft of a car. But what does it mean to insure your title to real estate?
Real estate has always been considered a valuable possession. Since it’s considered a form of wealth, many special laws have been enacted to protect ownership of land and the buildings which stand on it. This means whenever you buy property, the owner selling it to you has extremely strong rights, as does his family. In addition to the owner, there may be others that have “rights” to the property you are going to buy, whether it be governmental bodies, contractors who worked on the property or individuals who have unpaid claims attached to the property. Anyone who has such rights or claims is, in a sense, part owner of the property. However, it’s likely they don’t know the property is being sold, therefore they will not come forward to reveal these rights or unsatisfied claims. If not resolved prior to your purchase of the property, you may “inherit” these outstanding rights or claims. The seller’s problems will become your problems – unless you have title insurance.
This applies to both pre-owned homes and property which newly constructed homes are being built on. With a new home, it is possible for a third party to make a claim on the property. If a piece of land is owned by multiple family members, for example, the land could have been sold to the developer without the permission of all of the owners, and that owner could file a claim. Also, it’s critical to make sure that the land was properly subdivided and that the home you purchased is located on the correctly identified lot, to ensure there is no question of ownership in the future.
A buyer should investigate the title to the property thoroughly to insure that all outstanding rights and/or claims are revealed and resolved by the seller prior to the transfer of title. For a low one-time premium, Shore Title can do this for you, performing a thorough title search, assisting in the resolution of all liens, claims and/or encumbrances, and insuring your realty against hidden risks or undiscovered interests. Once purchased, title insurance remains in effect for as long as you own your realty, adding security and peace of mind to that valued ownership.