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3 Things You Need to Know About Title Insurance

Even though a title search may be extensive and exacting, it is limited to public records, so the possibility of "hidden risk" remains. Public records may not reflect claims of missing heirs, false impersonations, forgeries, improperly probated wills or clerical errors in recording legal documents, so without title insurance your investment is at risk.

A federal law called the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) entitles the individual homeowner to choose a title insurance company when purchasing or refinancing residential property.

The resulting preliminary title report (sometimes called a "title insurance commitment," "commitment of title," or an "encumbrance report") gives everyone a chance to eliminate trouble spots before proceeding with the sale -- or to call the sale off, if anything too serious is uncovered. It also lets everyone know the conditions under which you'll be offered insurance. For example, some things that can't be known or cleared up will be excluded from coverage.