Insuring the ownership of your property (referred to as "title") is just as important as insuring your property and its contents from physical loss or damage. Traditionally, title insurance was only available on "purchase" transactions and ordered by lawyers/ notaries to save their clients money and protect their ownership or title against losses incurred as a result of undetected or unknown title defects.
Stewart Title’s Existing Homeowner Title Insurance Policy is for those who already own their home, but did not obtain the protection of title insurance when they first purchased their home.
Why do I need this Policy?
Even if you are the rightful owner of a home, there are instances such as real estate title or mortgage fraud, when your title can come into question. Generally, the losses from real estate title or mortgage fraud are catastrophic with homeowners paying thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend their title, and lenders possibly losing the full amount of their mortgage.
By obtaining an Existing Homeowner Title Insurance Policy, you are purchasing the peace of mind associated with knowing that your policy contains comprehensive coverage for losses due to many forms of title and mortgage fraud and it includes a duty to defend your title, including paying legal fees.*
How does real estate fraud occur?
Real estate frauds take several forms, but a common denominator is that the fraudsters are sophisticated and thanks to modern technology, are armed with the appropriate documentation and necessary knowledge of the real estate process to enable them to perpetrate these major crimes.
Legal ownership in property is evidenced by the title to the property being placed into your name. You obtain title when the vendor of the property signs transfer documents (a deed) transferring the ownership of the property to you. Once this occurs, the government land registration records will reflect you as the owner and anyone searching those records will also recognize you as the owner.
A Typical Example...
- A fraud artist obtains title to a property via a fraudulent transfer document (a deed).
- The fraud artist goes to a bank and obtains the mortgage funds.
- The mortgage is then registered against the property.
- When the fraud artist does not make any mortgage payments, the lender will serve notice that it intends to sell the property, and the scheme is revealed to the legitimate owner when they receive the notice that the lender is trying to sell their property.
When is the policy effective?
Generally, the policy date is the date the homeowner first purchased the property. Coverage is also extended to heirs who receive your home in the event of your death.
What is the premium?
Title insurance is available for a low premium that is paid only once, and coverage is valid for the entire time you own your home. Your lawyer/ notary and his or her staff would be pleased to go over the premiums with you, and order the policy on your behalf.
What if I need to make a claim?
If you do need to make a claim inquiry, there is no deductible. To make a claim inquiry, you need to provide evidence in writing that you have suffered losses as a result of a defect covered by the policy. One of our claims associates will then determine if your claim is covered by the policy and will communicate to you the proposed method to resolve your claim.
Protect your investment.
Contact your lawyer / notary to obtain title insurance from Stewart Title on your behalf.