Frequently Asked Title Questions
- How does title insurance differ from other types of insurance?
- Why do I need title insurance?
- How long does my coverage last?
- How do I obtain title insurance?
- What is an owner's policy, and why do I need one?
- What are some hidden risks protected under a Stewart Title policy?
- What is an endorsement and why do I have to pay for it?
- What should I know about property taxes?
- What is power of attorney?
How does title insurance differ from other types of insurance?
Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from a loss that may occur from matters or faults from the past. Other types of insurance such as auto, life or health cover you against losses that may occur in the future. Title insurance does not protect against any future faults.
Another difference with title insurance is that the insured pays a one-time premium instead of ongoing premiums as with other types of insurance.
Why do I need title insurance?
Owning real estate is one of the most precious values of freedom. When you buy a home, you want to be sure the property is properly conveyed and free from unexpected adverse interests. Once title insurance is purchased, it remains in effect for as long as you own your home. Title insurance adds security and peace of mind to homeownership.
How long does my coverage last?
Once purchased, title insurance remains in effect for as long as you own your property.
How do I obtain title insurance?
Let the title company, attorney or agent handling the closing of your property know that you want to purchase a Stewart Title Owner's Title Insurance Policy. When choosing a title insurer, you should look for a company with experience, as well as the financial strength to protect you.
What is an owner's policy, and why do I need one?
An owner's policy protects you, the purchaser, against a loss that may occur from a fault in your ownership or interest you have in the property. You should protect the equity in your new home with a title policy. It offers:
- Protection from financial loss due to covered claims that may be asserted against the title to your home up to the face amount of the title policy.
- Payment of legal costs if the title insurer has to defend your title against a covered claim.
- Payment of successful claims against the title to your home covered by the policy up to the face amount of the policy.
What are some hidden risks protected under a Stewart Title insurance policy?
The following matters are examples of why you need a Stewart Title insurance policy. Remember that the best title examination or search cannot protect your equity and home from matters not appearing in the public records. However, a Stewart Title policy can protect you from:
- Documents executed under false, revoked or expired powers of attorney
- False impersonation of the true landowner
- Undisclosed heirs
- Improperly recorded legal documents
- Prescriptive rights in another — not appearing of record and not disclosed by survey
- Failure to include necessary parties to certain judicial proceedings
- Defective acknowledgements due to improper or expired notarization
- Corporate franchise taxes as liens on corporate real estate assets
- Gaps in the chain of title
- Mistakes and omissions resulting in improper abstracting
- Forged deeds, mortgages, wills, releases of mortgages and other instruments
- Deeds by minors
- Deeds which appear absolute, but, but which are held to be equitable mortgages
- Conveyances by an heir, devisee or survivor of a joint estate who attempts to attain title by ill-gotten means
- Inadequate legal descriptions
- Conveyances by undisclosed divorced spouses
- Duress in execution of wills, deeds and instruments conveying or establishing title
- Issues involving delivery of conveyancing instruments
- Deeds and wills by persons lacking legal capacity
State inheritance and gift tax liens
- Errors in tax records
- Demolition and substandard building liens
- Administration of estates and probate of wills of missing persons who are presumed deceased
- Issues of rightful possession of land
- Issues concerning the rightful conveyances by corporate entities
- Deeds and mortgages by foreigners who may lack legal capacity to hold title
- Legal capacity of foreign personal representatives and trustees
- Issues involving improper marital status
- Improper modification of documents
- Rights of divorced parties
- Conveyances in violation of public policy
- Misinterpretation of wills and ancillary instruments
- Deeds by persons falsely representing their marital status
- Claims by creditors of decedent against property improperly conveyed by heirs and devisees
- Issues concerning unlawful takings by eminent domain or condemnation
- Special tax assessments
- Real estate homestead exceptions
- Forfeitures of real property due to criminal acts
- Issues concerning adoption of children
- Conveyances and proceedings affecting rights of military personnel protected by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act
- Issues concerning interests noted in financial statements filed under Uniform Commercial Code
- Interests arising by deeds of fictitious parties
- Adverse possession
- Lack of jurisdiction or competency of persons in judicial proceedings
- Community property issues
- Utility easements
- False affidavits of death or heirship
- Interstate estates
- Probate matters
- Federal estate and gift tax liens
Subject to certain limitations as set forth in the policy.
What is an endorsement and why do I have to pay for it?
An endorsement, which is usually required by the lender, is further coverage for special requirements in addition to our standard policy's coverage.
What is power of attorney?
A "power of attorney" is a written instrument by which a person (the "principal") appoints another agent (the "attorney in fact") and confers upon the agent the power to perform certain specified acts on behalf of the principal.
A Power of Attorney:
- Creates an agency relationship, with the giver of the power of attorney remaining the legal owner of any property involved
- Must be approved by Stewart Title Guaranty Company