November 21, 2023

Title Insurance Explained: Understanding Its Importance and Benefits


What is Title Insurance?

The title to your property is the legal document that shows who owns the property and what rights they have to it.

Title insurance is a specialized type of insurance designed to protect homebuyers and mortgage lenders from financial losses caused by defects in the title to a property. A title defect is a problem with the legal ownership of a property

Title insurance offers financial protection against legal expenses and loss of ownership in the event of a covered title claim. Should an unforeseen issue arise, such as a previously undisclosed lien or a fraudulent deed, the title insurance policy can help cover legal costs and potentially compensate the insured parties for their financial losses.

What Does Title Insurance Cover?

Title insurance protects homeowners and mortgage lenders from financial losses caused by defects in the title to a property.

Title defects can include a wide range of issues:

  • Unexpected liens and HELOCs: One of the essential aspects of title insurance is its coverage against unexpected liens. These liens can include various scenarios such as liens from Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs), unpaid contractor bills, or other companies. Title insurance helps protect homeowners from the financial consequences that may arise if such liens are discovered after the property purchase. If a previously unknown lien emerges, the title insurance policy can assist in addressing the outstanding obligations and protecting the homeowner’s investment.
  • Delinquent Property Taxes: Title insurance extends its protection to delinquent property taxes. When previous owners neglect tax payments or errors in tax assessment occur, homeowners may face potential consequences like liens or property loss. Title insurance steps in to address these concerns and offer financial security.
  • Protection from Illegal Deeds, Fraud and Forgeries: Title insurance offers protection in cases involving illegal deeds or title forgeries. Unfortunately, fraudulent activities can sometimes occur in real estate transactions, such as forged signatures, false documentation, or undisclosed prior transfers of ownership. If any of these issues emerge and affect the validity of the title, title insurance can provide coverage for legal expenses and help resolve the situation, protecting the homeowner’s rightful ownership.
  • Resolving Inheritance Disputes and Unknown Heirs: Inheritance disputes, conflicting wills, and claims by unknown heirs can lead to property ownership conflicts. These issues may arise due to disputes over property rights, undisclosed heirs, or complex inheritance matters. Title insurance provides protection by covering legal expenses required to resolve these conflicts, ensuring the homeowner’s rightful ownership prevails.
  • Back Taxes: Title insurance also addresses back taxes, a potential stumbling block if the previous property owner failed to settle tax obligations. Non-payment of taxes can result in tax liens and even the risk of losing the property. Title insurance offers protection by tackling outstanding tax issues, preventing homeowners from being held accountable for prior tax debts.
  • Rectifying Filing Errors: Title insurance can also cover filing errors that may occur during the property transfer process. Mistakes or omissions in the public records can potentially affect the accuracy and validity of the title. In such cases, title insurance helps address the errors, protect the homeowner’s ownership rights, and provide financial coverage for any resulting legal actions.
  • Safeguarding Against Spousal Claims: Spousal claims, when a spouse or former spouse asserts ownership not disclosed during the sale, can lead to legal complications and potential ownership loss. Title insurance provides protection, defending the homeowner’s ownership rights, and offering coverage for associated legal expenses.
  • Managing Undocumented Easements: Undocumented easements, unrecorded rights of access or usage, can create complications for homeowners. If such an easement affects the property’s title, it may restrict the homeowner’s rights or impact the property’s value. Title insurance mitigates these challenges by offering coverage and assisting in resolving easement-related disputes.

What Does Title Insurance Not Cover?

Title insurance is a valuable investment for homeowners and mortgage lenders, as it can protect against financial losses caused by a variety of title defects. However, it is important to understand what title insurance does not cover.

  • Property Damage and Loss: Title insurance does not extend coverage to property damage or loss incurred due to natural disasters, accidents, or other unforeseen incidents. Its primary focus is safeguarding property title and ownership rather than physical property damage. To shield against property-related perils, homeowners should secure separate homeowners’ insurance policies.
  • Environmental Hazards: Environmental hazards, including pollution, soil contamination, or hazardous substance presence on the property, generally fall outside the scope of title insurance coverage. Addressing these concerns usually necessitates specialized environmental insurance policies. Conducting comprehensive due diligence and obtaining specific environmental assessments, if needed, is essential for mitigating these risks.
  • Future Liens and Encumbrances: Title insurance typically covers only liens and encumbrances that exist as of the policy’s effective date. It does not provide protection against future liens or encumbrances that may arise after the policy is issued. Homeowners should regularly review their property’s title for any new liens or encumbrances that may affect their ownership.
  • Changes in Zoning or Land Use: Changes in zoning regulations or land use restrictions that occur after the title insurance policy is issued are generally not covered. If there are changes in the permitted use of the property or zoning restrictions, homeowners may need to seek alternative insurance or legal advice.
  • Boundary or Survey Disputes: Boundary or survey disputes are typically not covered by title insurance. These issues involve disagreements regarding property boundaries, easements, or other survey-related matters. Resolving boundary disputes may require legal action or the assistance of a professional surveyor.
  • Known Defects or Disclosures: Title insurance does not cover defects or issues that are disclosed or known to the homeowner before purchasing the property. It is crucial for buyers to thoroughly review all property disclosures, inspection reports, and other relevant information to make informed decisions about their purchase.

What are the different types of title insurance?

There are two main types of title insurance: lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance. Lender’s title insurance protects the lender against financial losses that may arise from defects in the title to the property that secures the loan. Owner’s title insurance protects the buyer of the property against financial losses that may arise from defects in the title to the property.

  • Lender’s title insurance: Lender’s title insurance is required by most lenders when you take out a mortgage. It protects the lender’s interest in the property in case there are any defects in the title. If there is a defect in the title, the lender can file a claim against the title insurance company and be reimbursed for their losses.
  • Owner’s title insurance: Owner’s title insurance is not required, but it is a good idea to purchase it if you are buying a property. It protects you, the buyer, against financial losses that may arise from defects in the title to the property. If there is a defect in the title, the title insurance company will defend your ownership of the property and pay for your legal fees.

The main difference between lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance is who it protects. Lender’s title insurance protects the lender, while owner’s title insurance protects the buyer.

FeatureLenders Title InsuranceOwners Title Insurance
Who it protectsThe lenderThe homeowner
Protects againstFinancial losses caused by defects in the title that affect the lender’s interest in the propertyFinancial losses caused by defects in the title that affect the homeowner’s ownership of the property
RequiredYes, by most lendersNo, but recommended
Cost/Who PaysPaid by the borrower at closingPaid by the homeowner at closing
CoverageTypically covers the amount of the mortgage loanTypically covers the full purchase price of the property

What are the Benefits of Title Insurance?

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your ownership rights are secure provides peace of mind. Title insurance allows you to enjoy your property without the constant worry of hidden title defects.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to the potential financial losses in a title dispute, the one-time premium for title insurance is relatively small. It’s a cost-effective way to mitigate risks associated with property ownership.
  • Lender’s Protection: If you’re financing your home purchase with a mortgage, your lender will likely require title insurance. This protects their financial interest in the property, ensuring they can recoup their investment in case of a title dispute.

About Empora Title

Empora Title is the leading provider of cutting-edge title insurance services. We offer both competitive rates and next-level customer service. Contact us today to learn how we can help you protect your investments and grow your real estate business.

Empora Title is built for real estate investors. We redesigned the title and closing process to create a digital-first experience that delivers the fastest, smoothest closings possible and simplifies the management of multiple deals.


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Suite 04-128
Columbus, OH 43215


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