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What is title insurance, and why do I need it?

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When you buy or sell a home, one of the most important aspects of the process is verifying who actually owns the property. Can you imagine buying a home and, years later, discovering that someone else claimed rights to ownership? Neither can we. And that's why we have title insurance.

Title insurance verifies that the property you're buying is, in fact, now yours and no one else's. It means no governmental agency, individual or corporation has a lien, claim, right or other encumbrance on the property.

Title insurance isn't like your home or auto insurance – you don't have to pay an annual premium. It's a one-time cost. A title insurance officer checks public records and other records to make sure everything is clean with the ownership of your new property.

If there's any problem, you'll know well ahead of time and typically these issues are cleaned up before your real estate closing. If there are any issues, the title company pays the legal fees to represent you and will cover any losses associated with a valid claim. Your title insurance protection exists as long as you own the property.