Knowing what is and is not covered empowers owners to protect their investment
Owner’s title insurance is a must for many reasons we’ve discussed in the past. Though each title insurance policy is different, owner’s title insurance in general protects clients as homeowners in the event someone has a claim against their home from before the time they purchased it.
Yet it’s important to note that owner’s title insurance isn’t a fix-all for many issues that can arise during and after purchasing a home. So when it comes to owner’s title insurance, what isn’t covered? Knowing can help property owners protect their investment and prevent confusion down the road.
Here’s what owner’s title insurance generally does not cover
- Problems arising from not paying the mortgage.
- Title defects that occur after the owner’s title insurance policy is issued or title defects caused by the owner.
- Some assessments and taxes, particularly those that occur after buyers take ownership of the property. Back taxes due to lack of payment by a previous owner may be covered.
- A leaking roof (not due to lack of building permits by previous owners).
- Fire and weather damage.
- Land that is condemned.
- Insect infestations.
- Contractor fraud.
- Building ordinance violations or zoning violations relative to use of land, environmental preservation or improvements.
- Covenants that restrict use of the property.
- Problems due to breaking the law or some covenants.
- Disagreements over others’ claims to the property when a public body of water is on or nearby, such as a river, pond, stream or lake.
Owner’s title insurance is not home insurance, but it is invaluable
For some homeowners, there is confusion about the separation of homeowner’s insurance and owner’s title insurance. Overall, it’s important to know that owner’s title insurance protects ownership of the property and shields property owners from unknown title defects like fraud, forgery, missing heirs, previous owner’s non-use of building permits and encroachments. No one insurance product covers all of a homeowner’s needs. Yet it’s clear that owner’s title insurance offers valuable protection to homebuyers and incomparable peace of mind that their property is indeed theirs, free and clear of title defects.