Title Insurance

Title is the foundation of real estate ownership, and refers to your legal right to own, use, control, possess or dispose of the home. Before issuing a title insurance policy, a title agent will check for any defects in your title. Your free and clear ownership could be jeopardized if there are any problems with the title, such as a lien filed by someone who worked on the property, unpaid taxes, an easement, an undisclosed claim from an heir of a previous owner, or any number of other possible title defects.

Title insurance helps protect you or your lender from prior rights or claims that other parties may have to the property, as well as from any outstanding debts of previous property owners. Title insurance is based upon a public records search, which is evaluated to determine the state of the title at the time of your purchase. In the event that someone challenges your title, the title insurance underwriter (not the title agent or agency) will defend your title and pay all related costs and loss in property value that might ensue, up to the limit of your policy.

There are two primary types of title insurance—a lender’s policy and an owner’s policy. Your lender may require its own title insurance as a condition of your mortgage loan. A lender’s policy insures the lender’s interest in the title to your home. An owner’s policy will insure you as the property owner against the specific kinds of claims listed in the policy.

In Florida, the buyer or seller may purchase both the lender’s policy and the owner’s policy. Title agents, attorneys and title insurance companies may all sell title insurance. Unlike other types of insurance, you pay a one-time premium for your title policy, which remains in effect for as long as you, or any heirs, own the property.