Response from Rick Barra, Esq.:
What if you saved for years to buy the home of your dreams, only to find out 10 years after the purchase that someone else "really" owns your property? Many people don't understand the need for title insurance and resent paying the premium. You would never dream of going without fire and hazard insurance. But without title insurance, a problem back in your chain of title could result in a total loss of your property.
Our firm has handled title insurance claims for years. We see these matters frequently.
Title insurance protects your investment (up to the amount of the policy) against defects in the chain of title to your property. Your claim of ownership in that new house could totally fail if the notary neglected to notarize the signature of one of the grantors on a deed executed twenty years ago. Title insurance also protects against actual fraud in conveyances (such as forgery on a deed).
Deeds using invalid powers of attorney; missing witnesses; "wild" deeds; judgments against prior owners that attach to the property; unsatisfied mortgages; code enforcement
liens; errors in legal descriptions; unpaid taxes; homestead issues; unresolved probate matters, these are some of the problems we have seen. Without title insurance, the property owner must defend his or her own title against these claims, even though the property owner is totally innocent and had no knowledge of these matters.
Title insurance offers protection to cover your most important investment and assures that your dream house doesn't turn into your worst nightmare.