Title Insurance: As a homebuyer, the term is probably familiar - but is it understood? What is your dollar actually paying for when you purchase a title policy?
Title Insurers, unlike property or casualty insurance companies, operate under the theory of risk elimination. Title companies spend a high percentage of their operating income each year collecting, storing, maintaining and analyzing official records for information that affects title to real property. Their technical experts are trained to identify the rights others may have in your property, such as recorded liens, legal actions, disputed interests, rights of way or other encumbrances on your title. Before closing your transaction, the title company will proceed to clear those encumbrances which you do not wish to assume.
This theory is different from that of most other insurance where, for example, rates and anticipated losses are based on actuarial studies and premiums are pooled on the assumption that a certain number of claims will be made. The distinction is important: title insurance premiums are paid to identify and eliminate potential risks and claims before they happen. Medical and casualty insurance premiums, for example, are paid to insure against an unpredictable future event, knowing that risks exist and claims will occur. Furthermore, title insurance involves a one-time premium, paid when you close the real estate transaction, while property, casualty and medical insurance require regular renewal premiums.
The goal of title companies is to conduct such a thorough search and evaluation of public records that no claims will ever arise. Of course, this is impossible -- we live in an imperfect world, where human error and changing legal interpretations make 100% risk elimination impossible. When claims arise, professional claims personnel are assigned to handle them according to the terms of the title insurance policy.
As in all competitive business environments, rates vary from company to company, so you should make comparisons before deciding on a particular title company. Your real estate professional can help you do this. In addition, there are many helpful customer services provided by title companies which you and your real estate professional may find helpful to your transaction.
The issuance of a title insurance policy is highly labor-intensive. It is based upon the maintenance of a title plant, or library of title records, in many cases dating back over a hundred years. Each day, recorded documents affecting real property and property owners are posted to these title plants so that when a title search on a particular parcel is requested, the information is already organized for rapid and accurate retrieval. This investment in skilled personnel and advanced data processing represents a major part of the title insurance premium dollar.
This letter is in reference to real estate agent Kathy Kreutzberg. Kathy assisted my wife and me in our recent purchase of a property in the Highland, Illinois area. This purchase was especially challenging as we are relocating from Madison, Wisconsin. Kathy got our attention immediately by responding to an inquire we submitted on-line on a Saturday evening. We did not expect a response so quickly, let alone on a Saturday night. This was indicative of her working style as she was always available and a tireless worker. Kathy listened to our interests and assisted in helping us in the home search. Because of the distance we had to travel to view homes she was very patient and worked hard to arrange viewing around our schedule. She was also very candid in sharing local information about properties and the areas that matched our interests. Kathy was knowledgeable of the area, was helpful without being too aggressive. I would give Kathy the highest recommendation.
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Last Updated On: 2019-08-17.