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Understanding Title Insurance

What is title insurance? Newspapers refer to it in the weekly real estate sections and you hear about it in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home you may be familiar with the benefits of title insurance. However, if this is your first home, you may wonder, “Why do I need yet another insurance policy?” While a number of issues can be raised by that question, we will start with a general answer.

The purchase of a home is one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make. You and your mortgage lender will want to make sure the property is indeed yours and that no one else has any lien, claim or encumbrance on your property.

The Land Title Association, in the following pages, answers some questions frequently asked about an often misunderstood line of insurance - title insurance.

What is the difference between title insurance and casualty insurance?

Title insurers work to identify and eliminate risk before issuing a title insurance policy. Casualty insurers assume risks.

Casualty insurance companies realize that a certain number of losses will occur each year in a given category (auto, fire, etc.). The insurers collect premiums monthly or annually from the policy holders to establish reserve funds in order to pay for expected losses.

Title companies work in a very different manner. Title insurance will indemnify you against loss under the terms of your policy, but title companies work in advance of issuing your policy to identify and eliminate potential risks and therefore prevent losses caused by title defects that may have been created in the past.

Title insurance also differs from casualty insurance in that the greatest part of the title insurance premium dollar goes towards risk elimination. Title companies maintain title plants, which contain information regarding property transfers and liens reaching back many years. Maintaining these title plants, along with the searching and examining of title, is where most of your premium dollar goes.

Who needs title insurance?

Buyers and lenders in real estate transactions need title insurance. Both want to know that the property they are involved with is insured against certain title defects. Title companies provide this needed insurance coverage subject to the terms of the policy. The seller, buyer and lender all benefit from the insurance provided by title companies.

What does title insurance insure?

Title insurance offers protection against claims resulting from various defects (as set out in the policy) which may exist in the title to a specific parcel of real property, effective on the issue date of the policy. For example, a person might claim to have a deed or lease giving them ownership or the right to possess your property. Another person could claim to hold an easement giving them a right of access across your land. Yet another person may claim that they have a lien on your property securing the repayment of a debt. That property may be an empty lot or it may hold a 50-story office tower. Title companies work with all types of real property.

What types of policies are available?

Title companies routinely issue two types of policies: An “owner’s policy” which insures you, the Homebuyer, for as long as you and your heirs own the home; and a “lender’s” policy which insures the priority of the lender’s security interest over the claims that others may have in the property.

What protection am I obtaining with my title policy?

A title insurance policy contains provisions for the payment of the legal fees in defense of a claim against your property which is covered under your policy. It also contains provisions for indemnification against losses which result from a covered claim. A premium is paid at the close of a transaction. There are no continuing premiums due, as there are with other types of insurance.

What are my chances of ever using my title policy?

In essence, by acquiring your policy, you derive the important knowledge that recorded matters have been searched and examined so that title insurance covering your property can be issued. Because we are risk eliminators, the probability of exercising your right to make a claim is very low. However, claims against your property may not be valid, making the continuous protection of the policy all the more important. When a title company provides a legal defense against claims covered by your title insurance policy, the savings to you for that legal defense alone will greatly exceed the one-time premium.

What if I am buying property from someone I know?

You may not know the owner as well as you think you do. People undergo changes in their personal lives that may affect title to their property. People get divorced, change their wills, engage in transactions that limit the use of the property and have liens and judgments placed against them personally for various reasons.

There may also be matters affecting the property that are not obvious or known, even by the existing owner, which a title search and examination seeks to uncover as part of the process leading up to the issuance of the title insurance policy.

Just as you wouldn’t make an investment based on a phone call, you shouldn’t buy real property without assurances as to your title. Title insurance provides these assurances.

The process of risk identification and elimination performed by the title companies, prior to the issuance of a title policy, benefits all parties in the property transaction. It minimizes the chances that adverse claims might be raised, and by doing so reduces the number of claims that need to be defended or satisfied. This process keeps costs and expenses down for the title company and maintains the traditional low cost of title insurance.

Article by CLTA

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Assist2Sell
Piele Realty LLC

Chris Piele | 720.628.2625
CPiele@WeBuySellColorado.com
2851 S. Parker Rd. Ste PH20
Aurora, CO 80014

Testimonials

We tried to sell our home in Aurora by ourselves to avoid the high commissions that all the realtors were asking for. Frankly the process was very draining on us, trying to do our own marketing, open houses and all the stuff that comes with selling a home. I received a letter from Chris Piele at Assist2Sell and after sitting down with him, we decided to hand the task of selling our home over to him. We chose Chris because of his knowledge of “old school” and current methods of selling homes. And we felt he had the negotiation skills necessary to assure we would get the most money possible out of our home. Chris and his team quickly took care of everything needed to get the home listed and marketed, then within a just couple of days the showings to prospective buyers came in very consistently. He managed to sell our home in just one week and for the price we wanted. And did all that for a flat fee versus the high commissions all the other agents wanted to list our home. Better yet, he found us a buyer who did not have an agent so we did not have to pay a buyer’s agent commission. Frankly, we were THRILLED. If you want to save a ton of money in selling your home, and you want to sell it without a lot of brain damage, then we strongly recommend Chris Piele and his team. David and Marie Galegor
Chris Piele and his Real Estate Team were great to work with.  He helped us purchase a home in Aurora, Colorado.  He and his staff were always professional and very helpful.  I would recommend him when you buy or sell your next home.  It was a very positive experience. I would use Chris Piele for my next real estate transaction. Ronnie and Drake Davis
It was a pleasure to work with Chris in the sale of my mother’s home. He took great care of us. Our situation was unique in that my mother doesn’t own a computer…she doesn’t even have an email address. We received a generous, above asking price offer. Chris literally drove across town to her house to hand deliver the offer, explain everything, and get a signature before the deadline. He saved us thousands of dollars in commissions and provided excellent service. Chris and his staff were prompt, pro-active, professional, and in constant communication with us through the entire process. Renae Powell
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