How do I know if I have homeowner’s title insurance?
Aug 5th, 2021 | By FCT
Title insurance can cover potentially massive losses and completely turn around what would otherwise have been an awful situation. When unexpected issues come up, it’s important to make sure you’re protected—you might not have the policy you think you do.
There are two types of title insurance policies: lender policies and owner policies. The common confusion comes from the fact that they both often just go by “title insurance” in conversation. Their premiums have the same structure of a low one-time fee, and they offer slightly different coverage. But the main difference lies in who the policy protects, the lender or the owner—you.
Lender policies or loan policies have a shorter expected shelf life than homeowner policies. They’re tied to the loan itself, so if you refinance the mortgage with a different financial institution, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a new policy. Most lenders will require you to get a lender policy as a condition of securing your mortgage from them, and it does provide you with some benefits, like a faster, more affordable closing and some fraud protection. But the fact that so many lenders require it often leads to confusion for homeowners down the road.
If you consult the closing documents from your home purchase and see a title insurance item, it would be easy to think you’re fully covered. But you need to check that you have an owner’s policy as part of your closing documents as well, not just a loan policy. Even if you notice this issue long after closing, it still might not be too late to get yourself covered. As long as you get it before you learn of any title defects or other covered risks, an existing homeowner’s policy can help you get the level of coverage you need.
Note: a homeowner’s policy can protect you against certain known title defects on a case-by-case basis. You should consult your lawyer or notary to see if your known title defect can still benefit from coverage.
Homeowner’s title insurance policy: more protection for you and your title
A homeowner’s title insurance policy protects you and any heirs who might inherit your property. Owners may have one without even knowing it. When a friend, colleague or your legal advisor talks about title insurance, this is almost always the policy type they mean. Because you only pay the policy premium once—at a time when you’re tracking all the other moving parts of closing on your home—if you have a homeowner’s title insurance policy, it’s easy to forget. There’s no monthly premium to remind you of the policy, and it might be years from the purchase of your home before you need to make a claim.
Make sure you’re informed: check that you have the protection you need
It’s always a good idea to make sure you’ve verified your coverage. Here are three easy steps to know where you stand:
1. Check your real estate closing documents from your lawyer or notary. Remember to verify the policy type, even if you see title insurance in the closing documents—it could just be the lender policy.
2. Ask your real estate lawyer or notary. They would have been the one to actually order your homeowner policy if you got it at purchase, so they can find out directly from the insurance provider for you.
3. Call us. If you are a policyholder, we’ll have your policy on file and will be able to send you a copy. Please call our customer service line at 1.877.888.1153 Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST.
If you find out you don’t have title insurance yet, it’s time to get more protection with an existing homeowner policy.
Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.
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