Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Title?
A title is the foundation of property ownership. It is the title holder's right to possess and use the property.
What is a title Search?
A title search is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many possibly many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller's right to transfer ownership and to discovery claims, defect and other rights or burdens on the property.
What kinds of problems can a Search reveal?
A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions. Among these are unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments against the seller and restrictions limiting the use of the land.
Are there any problems that a title search cannot reveal?
Yes. There are some "hidden hazards" that even the most diligent title search may never reveal. For instance, the previous owners could have incorrectly stated his marital status, resulting in a possible claim by his legal spouse. Other "hidden hazards" include fraud and forgery, defective deeds, mental incompetence, confusion due to similar or identical names and clerical errors in the records. These defects can arise after you have purchased your home and can jeopardize your right to ownership.
What is title Insurance?
Title insurance is your policy of protection against loss if any of these problems - even a 'hidden hazard" - results in a claim against your ownership.
How does title insurance protect my investment if a claim should arise?
If a claim is made against your property, title insurance will in accordance with the terms of your policy, assure you of a legal defense - and pay all court costs and related fees. Also, if the claim proves valid, you will be reimbursed for your actual loss up to the face amount of the policy.
How much does title Insurance cost?
Probably a lot less than you think. Charges vary in different sections of the country, but generally the cost of title insurance (including search, examination and related services) amount to about one percent, or less, of the cost of the property. And unlike other insurance premiums, which must be paid annually, a title insurance premium is paid on time only, usually at settlement. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Insurance Department sets title insurance premiums.
How long does my coverage last?
For as long as you or your heirs retain an interest in the property and, in some cases, even beyond.