There are two types of title insurance, lender’s coverage and owner’s coverage. Lender’s coverage protects the lender in the event their interest in the property is jeopardized by an unpaid lien or encumbrance or by a challenge to the owner’s title. Lender’s coverage is mandatory on most mortgage loans.
Owner’s title insurance is optional. Owner’s coverage is the cheapest insurance a buyer will ever purchase. It protects the buyer’s interest in the property for as long as he owns it. If someone challenges the buyer’s title or if there are any liens that should have been paid off before closing, the title insurance company will defend the buyer’s title at no cost to the buyer.
Sometimes at closing, buyers will be tempted to opt out of purchasing the owner’s title portioin in order to save a few hundred dollars. Many times, the loan officer or real estate agent will even encourage a buyer to forgo purchasing this vital one time payment insurance.
We’ve all heard the saying „penny wise and pound foolish“. It means that some people will do anything to save a few dollars today only to end up paying a whole lot more down the line. Any buyer who chooses not to purchase owner’s coverage is being penny wise and pound foolish. Owner’s coverage, unlike most other insurance, involves a one-time premium. The amount of the premium is based on the value of the property and may vary slightly among title companies. As mentioned previously, the coverage is good for as long as the buyer owns the property.
Most title insurance companies have a simultaneous issue option. If a buyer opts to purchase the insurance on the day of closing, he will receive a discount on the lender’s policy. So, buyers should make sure to ask the closing company or attorney what the simultaneous issue rate is for the title insurance company through which they write their policies. Keep in mind that if a buyer chooses not to purchase owner’s coverage, he will be required to pay the full premium for the lender’s policy.
Title insurance companies also offer reissue rates for refinances. Reissue rates allow a borrower to pay for coverage on the difference between the value of the original lender’s policy and their current loan amount.
Depending on the internal procedures of the title company or closing attorney, a buyer will either receive his owner’s policy at the closing table or via U.S. mail a few weeks after closing. The owner’s policy should be kept in a safe place along with the deed to the property as it is the only original. In most states, attorneys and title companies are only required to keep files for seven to ten years. So, if an issue arises years later, a copy of the title insurance policy may not be available from the attorney or title company because they may have already disposed of the closing file.
If it becomes necessary to file a claim, the title insurance company contains the information needed to begin that process. Be prepared to provide the title company with a detailed explanation of the claim and any supporting documentation.
Copyright © 2008 Bishop Realty Services All Rights Reserved.