When you are buying a home, title insurance is often a topic that gets thrown into a closing packet…never to be thought of again…unless you work with us.
During the process, Highland Title + Escrow will explain why it’s important to have title insurance. It’s a one-time fee that protects your homeownership for as long as you or an heir owns the property. Insuring your property’s title is not required but can save you the headache (and potentially thousands of dollars) in the event that an issue comes up with your title during your ownership.
So what kind of policy do you have? Do you have a standard owner’s policy or an enhanced policy, and why is it important to know?
A standard owner’s policy ensures the owner of your property is YOU. A claim may pop up well after closing. If Uncle Bob left Cousin Frank the property in an undiscovered will, a standard policy will protect you from Cousin Frank’s claim. Should a defect, such as a forged signature or a missing date show up in documents or public record, you can have peace of mind because your title insurance policy will protect your property ownership.
However, there are times when an enhanced owner’s policy should be considered. If a standard policy is your entrée, then an enhanced policy is the entire buffet. An enhanced policy extends benefits to cover unique circumstances that may pertain to your property specifically. It covers all of your basic needs, in addition to subdivision violations, building permit/zoning issues, lack of access to the property, and encroachments. Need some examples? Check this out.
- Subdivision violations – Previous owners broke subdivision laws prior to your purchase, and you are trying to be held accountable for those issues.
- Building permit/zoning issues – Structures were built without permits, or a structure violates zoning ordinances.
- Lack of access to the property – Public roads or entryways provide access to your home, and updates/improvements remove the possibility of access.
- Encroachments – If you are forced to move a fence or wall that was built on a neighboring property prior to your ownership, enhanced title insurance will cover the removal with deductibles in mind.
There may be some differences in policies depending on the state and specific coverage so getting the advice of your Realtor® or title agent is always the best way to go. You can also check out this great resource from the American Land Title Association (ALTA).
Regardless of the title insurance that is best for you, please call Highland Title + Escrow at (703) 723-3300, or send us a message for more information on how we can help with titling your next home.