It seems like an odd question- but the majority of people who have title insurance are likely not aware that they have a homeowner’s title insurance policy, while many who have a lender title insured mortgage transaction believe that they are an insured title insurance policyholder. What a conundrum!
Why is this the case, you may ask? Well in the first scenario, the unaware title insurance policyholder, got their title insurance policy at the same time that they bought their home and likely learned about it at closing – a very hectic time. Normally homeowners pay for their title insurance premium as one of the many fees on their lawyer’s bill when they purchase their home. So it is not normally a standalone item that you purchase by itself. The policy is often included in the lengthy package of legal documents that you initial at your lawyer’s office to close your real estate transaction.
Also title insurance has a one-time premium with no annual premiums and it stays in place for as long as you own your home. So you are not being asked to renew your insurance annually or have automated monthly premiums deducted from your bank account to remind you.
On the other side of the fence –the aware but not insured, they have likely chosen 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 is their lender who has the title insurance policy.
A lender’s title insurance policy protects the lender and the priority of their mortgage on your property. It does have some benefits to the homeowner, 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 was likely a victim in the process.
So how can you find out if you have homeowner’s title insurance?
Follow these steps:
- Check your real estate closing documents from your lawyer or notary.
- Ask your real estate lawyer or notary.
- Call us. If you are our insured we have your policy on file and will be able to send you a copy. Monday to Friday between the hours am to 8:00 pm. EST. Phone: 1.877.888.1153 .
If your closing documents are buried in your closet somewhere, then there is a rule of thumb that we suggest. Because title insurance is still a relatively new insurance product in Canada, if you purchased a home more than 10 years ago, then you likely don’t have a homeowner’s title insurance policy.
Still can’t find it – it’s time to call us and order one.
This post originally published on http://www.fct.ca by Wendy Rinella, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, FCT