What is Title Insurance, and why do you care?

Title Insurance

What is Title Insurance?

First things first: the word "title" refers to your legal right to own, use, mortgage and sell real property. Title Insurance is there to protect your legal interest, and often that of your lender, in your property.

Your Lender's Policy v Your own Personal Policy

Many mortgage lenders require that you purchase a title insurance policy that covers their interest in the property. This policy, however, does not cover you as the owner of the property. For instance, a situation arose in Salmon River area this year when a home buyer was surprised to find that the backyard of his home did not belong to him, despite believing it was included in the purchase. There was no possibility that he would be covered by title insurance because  only a lender policy was purchased. So make sure to find out from your lawyer whether or not an owner policy is being purchased in addition to the policy required by your lender.

The lender's policy is there to protect only the bank's interest in the property. It usually covers only up to the amount of the mortgage. This policy is only in effect while the mortgage is in place, once the mortgage is paid out and discharged this protection expires.

In order to protect your own interest in your home, and cover the costs of any associated losses you will want to purchase an owner's policy at the same time that you are buying the lender's policy. This policy protects you for the entire time that you own your property. It is usually for the amount equivalent to the purchase price.

Why you should have it, and why it is preferable to a survey.

Some of the things title insurance would cover are:

·         Fraud or forgery;

·         Encroachments, easements, or boundary issues;

·         Zoning non-compliance;

·         Building permit issues from when the home was constructed;

·         Unknown defects in your title.

A survey is great for determining exactly where your boundaries are, however, it is only accurate as of the point in time it was done, and it is only good for the person who contracted the surveyor. Unlike title insurance it will not cover future issues.

It is a one time fee at the time you purchase you home, however, you can purchase a policy at any time. The cost is usually in the ballpark of $250.00. It provides a lot of peace of mind for minimal cost. 

If you would like to know more about what is covered, here are links to the webpages for the major title insurance providers:

Chicago Title Insurance

First Canadian Title

Stewart Title

Also, here is a short video provided by Chicago Title Insurance that will give you a brief summary of what Title Insurance is, and why you should have it. 

Come talk to us:

If you have any questions about title insurance you can call us at (902) 826-3070 or email us at info@highlanderlaw.ca to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers at our Tantallon law firm. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.  

By: Briana C. O'Grady, J.D. – Associate Lawyer

The information and materials on this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Nothing contained on this blog is legal advice or constitutes a legal opinion. While it is our goal to provide information which is current, legislative changes and court decisions, among other matters, may result in some information no longer being current or accurate. You should consult a lawyer before relying on any information. The views expressed herein by individual contributing lawyers posting entries to the blog are solely those of the authors and should not necessarily be attributed to or considered representative of the firm of Highlander Law Group Lawyers