What Is Title Insurance?

By Jedidiah McKeehan

A legal term you may have heard of but have no idea what it actually means is the term, “title insurance.”

What is title insurance?  The short answer is that title insurance protects property purchasers from problems that may arise later if an issue comes up with their ownership of the property they have purchase.

So practically, how would this work?  Say you buy a piece of property and you purchase title in-surance.  Before the purchase, the title company will perform a title search to determine whether the owner can convey the property to the potential purchaser.

Well, what if there has been a lien filed against the homeowner for a past credit card debt.  If that lien is not resolved before the purchase, that lien will create a “cloud” on the title.  That means that the new owner may not have clear title to the property because of that lien.  If this is discovered later, and the new owner has purchased title insurance, then that title insurance policy may provide coverage for this oversight and take care of and paying off the lien.

Is there any downside to obtaining title insurance?  Well, it is an additional cost that has to be paid for as part of the closing on the property, further, it prolongs conveying the property to the new owner.

If the new owner is in a hurry, they may just request a quitclaim deed conveying the property from the owner to the new owner.  That essentially puts the risk regarding problems with the title on the new owner.  If you go the quitclaim deed route though, no title insurance will be available that will protect the new owner if there is an issue with the title to the property.

The title insurance will be effective and protect the new owners as long as they remain the owners of the property.  So, even if a problem comes up years down the road, the title insurance works to protect the new owners.

Obtaining title insurance is always the safe way to go when acquiring property.  For a few hundred dollars you can obtain the peace of mind that you will be protected against any issues with the ownership of your property in the future.

 

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including personal injury, divorce and custody, criminal and landlord-tenant law. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.

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