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Buying a piece of real estate may be one of the largest purchases in your entire life. When you wish to acquire real estate you are encouraged to check the present and past ownership rights to learn if the person you are purchasing the real estate from is the actual owner, and if there are any limitations to their ownership. 

What Is Title Insurance?

Title insurance protects a potential buyer and lender against possible loss if something in the title documents for the property you are buying, is inaccurate. Most lenders require that you purchase title insurance. You only pay for title insurance once and it will remain in effect until you sell the property or refinance. 

How Is Title Insurance Determined?

Public records are searched to find all documents relating to the title. The documents are examined and used to piece together the history of ownership and claims upon the land.  Once the search is complete, the information is then used to determine the title insurance policy.  A title examination can discover: 

  • The current status of ownership
  • The current owner
  • Limitations of the owner's property rights such as mortgages, easements and liens

Why Do I Need Title Insurance?

Although you will learn the current and past status of the real estate you are purchasing there is always the possibility a document was forged or a missing heir comes forward claiming the real estate is theirs. Title insurance will protect you from those claims.   

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Because the purchase of real estate is a significant investment, protecting yourself against any claims to the land is critical. An experienced real estate attorney can conduct or review any title searches and examine a title insurance policy. If you believe you have a title dispute, a lawyer can discuss your options and remedies. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 04-11-2018 07:27 PM PDT

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