Friday, March 7, 2008

Benefits of Title Insurance

A Word About Real Estate
Real estate has traditionally been a family's most valuable asset. It is a form of wealth that is protected by many laws. These laws have been enacted to protect one's ownership of real estate and the improvements located on the land. The owner, the owner's family, and the owner's heirs have extremely b rights or claims in and to the property that you are buying. Those who may have an interest in or lien upon the property could be governmental bodies, contractors, lenders, judgment creditors, the Internal Revenue Service, or various other individuals or corporations. The real estate may be sold to you without the knowledge of the party having a right or claim in and to the property. In addition, you may purchase the real estate without having any knowledge of these rights or claims. In either event, these rights or claims remain attached to the title to the property that you are buying until they are extinguished.

The Past Can Determine Your Future
Generally, a person thinks of insurance in terms of the payment of future loss due to the occurrence of some future event. For instance, a party obtains automobile insurance in order to pay for future loss occasioned by a future "fender bender" or for the future theft of the car. Title insurance is a unique form of insurance. It provides coverage for future claims or future losses due to title defects which are created by some past event (i.e., event prior to the acquisition of the property.) These risks are far less obvious than those protected against by automobile insurance, but can be just as devastating. The following information will answer some commonly asked questions about title insurance.

Will You Get Clear Title?
It is of utmost importance that you receive clear title to the property when you purchase real estate. In order to do so, you must first be informed of any existing rights or claims that may, in the future, threaten your title and possession to the property. Title insurance provides you with this twofold protection.
How Do You Find Out What Claims Exist?
In order to determine the status of title, Chicago Title conducts a diligent search of the public records for those documents associated with the property. Chicago Title then examines those recorded documents in order to determine if there are any rights or claims that may have an impact upon the title to the property. The title search may reveal the existence of recorded defects, liens or encumbrances upon the title such as unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments and tax liens against the current or past owners, easements, restrictions and court actions. These recorded defects, liens and encumbrances are reported to you prior to your purchase of the property. Once reported, these matters can be accepted, resolved or extinguished prior to the closing of the transaction. In addition, you are protected against any recorded defects, liens or encumbrances upon the title that are unreported to you and which are within the coverage of the particular policy issued in the transaction. This is the first benefit you receive from title insurance.

What About Undiscovered Claims?
The title to the property that you have purchased could be seriously threatened or lost completely by hazards which are considered "hidden risks." "Hidden Risks" are those matters, rights or claims that are not shown by the public records and, therefore, are not discoverable by a search and examination of those public records. Matters such as forgery, incompetency or incapacity of the parties, fraudulent impersonation, and unknown errors in the records are examples of "hidden risks" which could provide a basis for a claim after you have purchased the property. In order to protect you against this possibility, Chicago Title provides insurance coverage for such claims. This is the second benefit you receive from title insurance.

How Does a Title Insurance Policy Protect Against All These Claims?
If a claim is made against your insured title, Chicago Title Insurance Company protects you by: (1) Defending your title, in court if necessary, at no cost to you, and (2) Bearing the cost of settling the case, if it proves valid, in order to protect your title and maintain your possession of your property.

Title Insurance Protects Your Asset
Title insurance gives you the assurance that possible clouds on title to the property you are purchasing - which can be discovered from the public records - have been called to your attention that such defects can be corrected before you buy. Additionally, it is insurance that if any undiscovered claims covered by your policy arises out of the past to threaten your ownership of real estate, it will be disposed of, or you will be reimbursed exactly as your title insurance policy provides.

Only One Premium
Unlike other forms of insurance, the original premium is your only cost as long as you or your heirs own the property. There are no annual payments to keep your Owner's Title Insurance Policy in force.

Initial Request for Title Insurance
An order for title insurance is opened with a title officer who produces the initial response promptly within 24 to 48 hours. A preliminary report can be issued with the minimum of information; without even identifying the buyer or the terms of the sale. It shows the record title as it presently exists and is only an offer to provide insurance.

On-Site Searching and Examining
Your title officer performs three searches: Property, Name, and Tax searches. From that information, a preliminary report is created. Our on-site customer service center expedites the process of obtaining hard copies of recorded documents. Imaging helps to expedite searches with the ability to obtain documents on-line.

Technical Review
The skill and expertise of our title officer is the key to providing you with a useful, accurate title report. Once the report is issued the review begins by making a technical analysis of the documents of record. An interpretive view of all recorded matters is made to evaluate their impact on the title to the property. Among the questions the examiner asks are: Would any of the recorded matters prevent the buyer from using the property for its intended purpose? Can antiquated leases be eliminated from the policy per a review of the current leases?

Inspection Analysis
In anticipation of ALTA coverage, a site inspection is ordered. From the inspection report, the initial title product is supplemented to show any encroachments or other off-record matters which would ultimately impact the title.

Co-Insurance, Re-Insurance, Other Details
If co-insurance or re-insurance is needed for a transaction, we expedite the confirmation of approval. You, the customer, are never bogged down or delayed by the action on the part of our title unit. To the contrary, as a resource and as a facilitator of the transaction, we assume the responsibility for as many details as possible and are able to direct you to other resources where necessary (such as for a lost instrument bond).

We Earn Your Respect with our Skills, Service and Solutions
We try not to point out impediments to the close of a transaction without also offering assistance and solutions. By understanding the sometimes delicate balance of the interests of the parties to a transaction, and by professionally and courteously handling issues as they arise, we can capably guide a transaction to a successful conclusion.

Documents in the Title Process
Preliminary Report
Commitment - Shows the condition of title in the way we are willing to issue it.
Pro Forma - Specimen of what the requested policy, as requested, will look like. Underwriting issues not completed. Not binding upon the company.
Policy - Final product. Contract of indemnity between named insureds and the company

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