Title Insurance is a form of insurance that provides the owner of a piece of real estate, and those that lend money against real estate, protection against potential losses because of prior liens, encumbrances, unpaid taxes, judgments, fraud or other defects that could affect title to the property, or limit the potential use of the property. Title Insurance, like other forms of insurance, is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions from coverage as outlined in the policy.
Title Insurance is different from other forms of insurance like auto, life, homeowner's or renter's insurance in that those types of insurance provide protection for events that may happen in the future. These are generally referred to as types of casualty insurance. Title Insurance is totally different in that it provides protection for events that may have happened long in the past but can still affect the real estate in question today. Whereas casualty insurance policies are paid for on an ongoing basis (typically annually or monthly) a title insurance policy is a one time premium and is paid at the time the property is purchased or any time a loan is taken against the property
Title Insurance provides for insurance against claims for past defects. Defects such as a person claiming an ownership interest in or an unpaid lien against your property, documents recorded improperly, fraud, forgery, unreleased mortgages, and other items that are listed and defined in your title insurance policy. The title policy also insures that you have ingress and egress (access) to the property.
The most common forms of title insurance are the Owner's Title Insurance Policy, which insures the owner of the property, thus protecting the owner's rights, and the Lender's or Mortgagee's Title Policy which protects the lender's interest and insures the priority of their lien against the property. An Owner's Title Policy is good as long as you or your heirs own the property. Lender's or Mortgagee's Title Policies are good until the Deed of Trust or Mortgage (depending on which state the property is located in) against the property is released on the public record. Each policy is subject to terms, exclusions and restrictions as defined by the final policy.