Title insurance is a vital part of any real estate transaction, but this type of coverage is different from auto insurance or health insurance. Instead of protecting you against future problems, title insurance guards against damages caused by problems already in existence when ownership of a property is transferred.
What Title Insurance Does
A clear title is essential for a real estate transaction to proceed. Title insurance protects against financial losses related to problems with the property title. Some examples of situations where a title insurance policy would provide coverage include:
- Ownership documents have been forged.
- There are incorrect signatures on documents.
- Another owner with interest in the property was not informed of the sale.
- The house was already sold at a tax sale.
- A contractor was never paid, and there is a lien on the house for the value of past home improvements.
- There are several years of back property taxes that must be paid.
- There are unrecorded easements or other restrictive covenants that reduce the value or enjoyment of the property.
Buying Title Insurance
Almost all lenders will require you to purchase a lender's title insurance policy. The policy protects the lender in the event the seller is unable to transfer ownership rights.
An owner’s policy is optional, but protects you in the event there are problems with the title. This type of policy is often purchased by the seller to protect the buyer.
There are four major title insurance companies in the United States: Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, Fidelity National Financial, First American Title Insurance Company, and Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Additional regional title insurance companies are also available to provide coverage.
The price of insurance varies depending on the provider and the value of your home but is typically between $500 and $3,500.
Do You Need a Real Estate Lawyer? Discover the Alperin Law Advantage
The Alperin Law team is available seven days a week to assist with residential or commercial real estate transactions in Virginia or North Carolina. Contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to learn how we can be of service. We serve all communities in Eastern Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Isle of Wight County, Hampton, the Eastern Shore, and Northeastern North Carolina, including Currituck, Elizabeth City, and the Outer Banks.