How do I Know if I Have Title Insurance?

Sep 27th, 2017 | By FCT

It seems like an odd question – but some people who have title insurance don’t know that they have a homeowner’s title insurance policy, while many who have a lender policy believe that they are insured as homeowners. So much confusion!

How does this happen? Well, in the first instance, people who are title insured usually get their title insurance policy when they buy their home and likely learn about it at closing – which is a very hectic time. Normally, homeowners pay their title insurance premium as one of the many fees on their lawyer’s bill when they purchase their home. It’s not normally an item that you purchase on its own. The policy is often included in the lengthy package of legal documents that homeowners sign at their lawyer’s office to close their real estate transaction.

Also, since title insurance has a one-time premium and is in place for as long as you own your home, you’re not being asked to renew your insurance or have monthly premiums automatically deducted from your bank account to remind you.

On the other hand – the people who think they are insured likely choose to use title insurance in their mortgage purchase or refinance and believe that they have a homeowner’s title insurance policy. In this case it’s their lender who has the policy.

A lender’s title insurance policy protects the lender and the priority of their mortgage on your property. It has some benefits to the homeowner though, such as reduced transaction costs, smoother legal closing process and in the event of fraud, the lender has the title insurer to pay out their fraudulent mortgage – not the homeowner, who is likely a victim in the process.

So how can you find out if you have homeowner’s title insurance?

  1. Check the real estate closing documents from your lawyer or notary.
  2. Ask your real estate lawyer or notary.
  3. Call us. If you’re insured with FCT, we’ll have your policy on file and will be able to send you a copy.  You can reach us at 1.877.888.1153. from Monday to Friday between the hours 8:00am to 8:00pm EST.

If your closing documents are buried in your closet somewhere, there is a rule of thumb that may apply. Because title insurance was introduced to Canada (by us!) about 25 years ago and it was not common practice to include it in real estate transactions until fairly recently, if you purchased a home more than 10 years ago, you likely don’t have a homeowner policy.

You know what that means? It’s time to call us and order one!

10 Responses to “How do I Know if I Have Title Insurance?”

  1. Vic colasuonno says:

    I cant find a title or a title insurance policy. I dont even remember getting it or title insurance. What should i do?

    Vic

    • FCT says:

      Hi Vic, most often, a title insurance policy is arranged through your lawyer at the time you purchase your property. If you have one, it will usually be with the closing documents you would have received from your lawyer or notary. You can also call us at 1.877.888.1153 between 8a.m. to 8 p.m. If you’re insured with FCT, we’ll have your policy on file and will be able to send you a copy. If you don’t already have a title insurance policy, we offer an “existing homeowner policy” which can be purchased by home owners who did not purchase title insurance when they purchased their property. Give us a call at 1 8777 888 1153 if you want to learn more about our existing home owner policy.

  2. Kay newcomer says:

    We recently bought a city lot that was fenced in with a house in front and a garage turned into apartment in back. Our realtor showed us both homes. They had lock boxes on both with same code. We purchased cash. All transactions were done on line. Come to find out we were conned. The property was sold as the lot minus 77 ft. The 77 ft is where the garage/ apartment is. We were never offered title insurance. So now what do we do?

    • FCT says:

      Sorry to hear that! In the absence of a title insurance policy, you may want to consider consulting with a lawyer specialized in real property law about your legal rights.

  3. mohammad hoque says:

    Hi,

    I know I had title insurance when I purchased my house in 2009. Last year I refinance my house and the refinance closing doc I did not see any line item about the title insurance. I refinance the house with the same bank I originally had my mortgage. Do I need to buy the title insurance again or since I originally have one at the time of purchasing the house I don’t need one anymore.

    • FCT says:

      Hi Mohammad,
      Great question! FCT’s homeowner’s title insurance is a one-time purchase that lasts for as long as you own your home. If you got a homeowner’s title insurance policy from FCT when you bought your house, you’re already covered. You don’t need to purchase it every time you refinance. However, at each refinance the lender would need a new policy because a previous mortgage is being replaced with a new one. Thanks!

  4. Crystal J Whitten says:

    Good evening,

    I live in Alabama

    I have just been made aware of a lien on my property from the previous owner from 2011. I was not notified of any liens on the house or land at the time of purchase in 2013. Otherwise, I would not have bought the property. I am now trying to sell my property and was made aware of the lien. According to finance company, there was a title search performed- I have a copy and also shows the title search/ insurance on itemization -What should I do? Am I responsible for paying the lien?

    Thank you for your time

    • FCT says:

      Hi Crystal,

      Thank you for reaching out to FCT. As you are located in the U.S., please contact First American (334 395-5870) and they will be more than happy to address your concern.

      If we can be of further help, please let us know.

      Best regards,
      FCT

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