What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance is a contractual obligation that protects against losses that occur when title to a property is not free and clear of
defects (e.g. liens, encumbrances and defects that were unknown when the title policy was issued). The terms of the policy define
what risks are covered and what risks are excluded from coverage. The title insurer will reimburse you for losses that are covered, up
to the face amount of the policy, and any related legal expenses. This protection is effective as of the issue date of the policy and
covers defects arising prior to your ownership. Title companies issue policies on all types of real and personal property. Two types of
title insurance policies for real property are common: a lender's policy and an owner's policy.
Who Should Purchase Title Insurance?
Lenders require title insurance as a condition for your loan. Two types of policies are available: an owner’s policy and a lender’s
policy. A lender’s policy insures that the lender’s security interest in the property has priority over claims that others may have in your
property. A lender’s policy does not protect you. Similarly, the prior owner’s policy does not protect you. If you want to protect
yourself from claims by others against your new home, you will need an owner’s policy. An owner’s policy insures the buyer for as
long as he or she owns the property. This protection is limited to the value of the property. It is usually less expensive to purchase a
lender’s policy and owner’s policy at the same time from the same title insurer. Contact your California Title Sales Representative for
How Much Title Insurance Will I Need?
The homebuyer should insure the full purchase price of the property; the lender only requires title insurance to cover the amount of
Who Pays the Premium for the Title Policy?
In California, settlement practices vary from locality to locality. The party that pays the title premium is a matter of local custom and
practice and not set by law. Depending upon the region, the premium for a title insurance policy can be paid by the buyer or the seller
or split between both parties. In Southern California, the seller customarily pays the premium for title insurance. In Northern California,
the buyer customarily pays the premium for title insurance, or occasionally the premium is split between buyer and seller. In almost
every county, the buyer pays the lender’s policy premium. The parties are free to negotiate a different allocation of fees. Your escrow
officer can advise you as to who normally pays the premium in your area.