June 26, 2023


Title insurance is an important aspect of the home buying process that protects both the homeowner and lender from any potential issues with a property’s title. This type of insurance ensures that the title of the property is clear and free of any liens or other claims that can affect ownership.

However, it is crucial to review the title insurance policy for coverage and exclusions before purchasing a property. In this article, we will explore the importance of understanding your title insurance policy and the key elements to look for when reviewing it.


1. Purpose of Title Insurance Policy

Before purchasing a property, it is imperative to understand the purpose of a title insurance policy. In essence, title insurance protects the owner’s interest in the property from any unforeseen issues that may arise. This insurance policy ensures that the person or entity purchasing the property has clear and marketable title to the property that is free from any liens or encumbrances.

Title insurance protects owners from issues that may affect the title but were not discovered during the title search. These issues may include undiscovered liens, errors in public records, or fraud. This policy provides peace of mind to the property owner, as it offers financial protection in the event of title-related disputes.

In conclusion, the purpose of title insurance is to protect the property owner’s investment and provide financial security in the event of title issues.

2. Importance of Reviewing Title Insurance Policy

When it comes to purchasing a property, there are two types of title insurance policies.

The first is lender title insurance, which is required by the lender as a condition of providing a mortgage. The second is owner title insurance, which is optional but highly recommended to protect a buyer’s interest in the property. Regardless of which type, it is essential to review the title insurance policy for coverage and exclusions.

Doing so ensures that the policy covers any potential issues that may arise, such as liens or ownership disputes. Without adequate coverage, a buyer may face significant financial loss or even lose the property altogether. Therefore, it is crucial to review the policy carefully and ask questions of the title insurance company to understand the coverage and exclusions fully.

Additionally, it is critical to ensure that the policy covers any potential future claims and not just existing issues at the time of purchase. Overall, reviewing the title insurance policy is a vital step in protecting a property investment and ensuring peace of mind for the buyer.


1. Covered Risks

The title insurance policy provides coverage for various risks that may arise during the real estate transaction. The covered risks under a title insurance policy primarily include defects in the title of the property, which may prevent the buyer from having clear ownership of the property.

These defects may include errors or omissions in public records, fraud, forgery, undisclosed heirs or liens, and many other issues that may jeopardize the legality of the property title. By purchasing a title insurance policy, the buyer is protected against financial losses that may arise due to these defects, and the title insurance company assumes the responsibility to defend any claims or lawsuits resulting from these defects.

It is essential to review the policy’s covered risks before purchasing a title insurance policy to ensure that it provides adequate protection for the buyer’s investment.

2. Standard Coverage

The standard coverage of a title insurance policy typically includes the protection of the insured party against defects in the title that were not disclosed in the public records. For instance, issues such as unsatisfied liens, deeds or wills that were not recorded, and other title defects can result in the insured individual losing their legal ownership of the property.

Title insurance can cover the losses incurred due to such defects and defects that arise after the policy inception date, even though the insured may be already residing in the property. Such defects could include issues such as easements, encroachments, and other rights of parties that interfere with the legal claim of the insured property.

Moreover, title insurance covers losses or damages to the insured party’s property caused by violations of zoning regulations, building codes, and government regulations.

3. Additional Coverage

Alongside their standard coverage, title insurance policies may also include additional coverage options that provide further protection for buyers. These additional coverage options are typically elective, and come with an additional premium fee. However, for those willing to pay the extra fee, they can provide an added layer of security that may prove invaluable in the long run. One common example of additional coverage is inflation protection, which adjusts the coverage amount to account for changes in inflation over time. This can be particularly useful for buyers who are purchasing a property in a high-inflation market. Another option is a tax assessment endorsement, which guarantees that the property taxes assessed are correct and no additional taxes will be imposed beyond that amount. This can help protect buyers from unforeseen future expenses. Yet another common additional coverage option is rights of access coverage, which protects the buyer in the event that an entity makes a claim to the property that could ultimately result in the loss of rights to access. This can be particularly useful for buyers in unique or highly sought-after locations with a complex legal framework. Ultimately, the addition of any of these coverage options is an individual choice that must be made based on the unique circumstances of each buyer and each property. By taking the time to fully understand the available options, buyers can ensure that they have the best possible protection for their investment.


1. General Exclusions

The General Exclusions section of a title insurance policy describes the types of losses that are not covered. It is imperative to review this section to determine the extent of coverage provided by the policy.

This section typically includes exclusions for losses resulting from defects that existed before the policy effective date. For example, if the property title was subject to a lien or an encumbrance before the policy took effect, the policy may not cover any resulting losses.

Other common exclusions include losses resulting from government actions, such as the seizure of property for back taxes or condemnation, or losses resulting from environmental hazards. It is essential to review this section carefully and to seek advice if any of the exclusions are unclear.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the General Exclusions section is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other exclusions that apply depending on the specific policy. In summary, understanding the General Exclusions section of a title insurance policy is critical in determining the scope of coverage provided and can help avoid unpleasant surprises should an issue arise after closing on a property.

2. Specific Exclusions

One of the most crucial aspects when reviewing a title insurance policy is to carefully investigate the specific exclusions. These are limitations of coverage defined in the policy that outline certain risks or hazards that the insurance company will not cover.

Specific exclusions may vary depending on the type of property and the location of the property, and it is essential to inspect them thoroughly to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises in the future. Examples of specific exclusions include but are not limited to zoning violations, environmental hazards, governmental regulations, fraud, defects not of record, and subsurface hazards.

Exclusions typically reflect issues that are beyond the control of the title insurance company and may be viewed as uninsurable risks. It is crucial to be aware of the specific exclusions in the policy and to work with a knowledgeable professional who can help you understand them, explain their implications, and recommend appropriate measures to mitigate those risks.

In summary, understanding the specific exclusions in a title insurance policy is crucial as it enables you to make informed decisions about your investment and helps you identify potential risks when transferring ownership of a property.

3. Endorsements

Endorsements refer to additions or modifications made to the title insurance policy to accommodate specific needs of the property owner. Endorsements can be issued either at the time of the policy is first written or anytime thereafter. It is crucial to ensure that endorsements are correctly added to the insurance policy, as they can offer additional coverage over the general policy.

A policyholder must review their property requirements to determine whether an endorsement is necessary or not. For example, an endorsement may add coverage such as an increase in the insured amount, an expansion of the coverage area, or extend the policy term. Some endorsements may also exclude certain aspects that would have been covered under the original policy, such as zoning coverage.

An endorsement can be costly, so it is vital to understand the terms and conditions before accepting any endorsement, as it can impact the cost of the insurance policy. A title search conducted by a professional title company can assist in identifying any endorsements that may be right for the individual’s needs.

In conclusion, endorsements offer additional customization and protection to an insurance policy, but it is essential to review an endorsement’s terms and conditions to fully understand its impact on the policy and the cost.

Review Process

1. Obtaining the Policy

Obtaining the title insurance policy is the first step in ensuring that your property interest is protected against any unforeseen legal disputes. Before closing, it is important to request a copy of the policy from the title insurance company that issued the policy.

Once you have the policy, you should carefully review it to ensure that it meets your needs. The policy will contain important information, including the coverage and exclusions. It is important to read the policy thoroughly and to understand all the terms and conditions.

When obtaining the policy, you should also verify the accuracy of the information contained in the policy. This includes verifying the property description, the legal description, and the names of the insured parties. Any inaccuracies in the policy could potentially invalidate the coverage and cause problems in the future. It is important to address any concerns with the title insurance company as soon as possible to ensure that any errors can be corrected.

Another important step in obtaining the policy is to make sure that you understand the different types of policies that are available. The two most common types of title insurance policies are owner’s policies and lender’s policies. An owner’s policy protects the homeowner’s interest in the property, while a lender’s policy protects the lender’s interest in the property. Depending on your situation, you may need one or both types of policies.

It is also important to ensure that the policy meets all the legal requirements in your state. Title insurance policies are regulated by state law and may be subject to different requirements depending on where you live. For example, some states may require specific language in the policy to provide certain types of coverage. It is important to consult with an expert in real estate law to ensure that your policy meets all the legal requirements in your area.

In summary, obtaining the title insurance policy is the first step in protecting your property interest. Careful review of the policy is essential to ensure that it meets your needs and that it is accurate. Understanding the different types of policies available and any legal requirements in your state is also important. Taking these steps will help to ensure that you are fully protected against any unforeseen legal disputes.

2. Reading the Policy

Reading the policy is an essential part of ensuring that a property is sufficiently covered against any potential risks. Most people overlook the importance of reading the policy and paying attention to the details contained therein, particularly the exclusions and endorsements.

Therefore, it’s crucial to read the policy from cover to cover to comprehend the coverage, limitations, and exclusions. The policy should spell out the insurer’s obligations and the property owner’s responsibilities, especially in the event of a claim. The policy can also have endorsements which either limit or expand coverage and exclusions.

Endorsements can add or remove coverage from the policy, so it’s important to read them carefully. It’s also crucial to ensure that the policy matches the commitments made during the closing of the transaction. For instance, if the title policy promises to insure against mechanic’s liens, it’s imperative to ensure that this clause is explicitly stated.

Additionally, it’s key to understand the policy’s definitions section as it can impact coverage. Any ambiguity or confusion in the language can be an issue, and questions should be resolved before closing.

3. Identifying Coverage and Exclusions

When reviewing a title insurance policy, it is crucial to identify the extent of coverage offered and any exclusions that may limit the policy’s scope. Coverage will be granted per the policy terms, but exclusions take away coverage for specific risks.

The coverage section of the policy outlines what types of claims the policy covers. For example, the policy may provide coverage for unrecorded liens and encumbrances or defects in the chain of title, but it may exclude coverage for environmental hazards or zoning issues.

Understanding the coverage and exclusions in a title insurance policy is essential to determine if the policy provides sufficient protection for the property owner’s investment. Property owners should consult with legal counsel if they have any questions about a title insurance policy’s coverage or exclusions.

4. Seeking Legal Advice

Seeking legal advice is paramount when it comes to reviewing a title insurance policy for coverage and exclusions. A qualified legal expert can help review the policy and interpret the legal jargon to determine if there are any gaps in coverage. Legal counsel can also help identify any potential exclusions to coverage that could be detrimental to the insured party.

A skilled attorney will also be able to advise on any necessary modifications or endorsements to the policy to ensure full and proper coverage. Consulting with a legal professional can provide peace of mind, as they can help protect against potential legal or financial issues in the future. Due to the complexity of legal language and insurance policies, seeking legal advice can be an essential component in the process of obtaining and reading a title insurance policy.


1. Importance of Reviewing Title Insurance Policy

Reviewing a title insurance policy is a crucial step in the home buying process. The policy protects buyers and lenders against any unknown defects or claims that may arise from the property’s title, such as liens or ownership disputes. By thoroughly examining the policy, buyers can ensure they are fully covered and understand any exclusions that may limit their protection. Failure to review the policy could lead to potential financial consequences, such as unexpected legal fees or a loss of investment.

Additionally, it is essential to review the policy before closing on the property to avoid any surprises and ensure a smooth transaction. Therefore, taking the time to review the title insurance policy is a crucial step in securing the safety and investment of property owners and lenders.

2. Potential Consequences of Not Reviewing Title Insurance Policy

Failure to review and understand the terms of a title insurance policy can have significant consequences for property owners. One potential consequence is the risk of being denied coverage for a claim. Title insurance policies often contain specific exclusions that may limit or entirely exclude coverage in certain situations. If a property owner is unaware of these exclusions, they may wrongly assume that they are fully covered and be caught off guard when a claim is denied.

Additionally, failure to review the policy may result in missed opportunities to negotiate better terms or premiums. Without a thorough understanding of what is covered and excluded in the policy, it may be difficult to identify potential areas for negotiation.

Another potential consequence of not reviewing the policy is the risk of being saddled with unexpected costs. For example, if a title defect is discovered after the sale of a property, the new owner may be responsible for resolving the issue at their own expense.

This can include costly legal fees, settlement payments, or even the cost of purchasing a new insurance policy to cover the defect. Finally, not reviewing the title insurance policy may lead to a false sense of security. Property owners who assume that they are fully covered without understanding the terms of their policy may be more vulnerable to risks and liabilities that are not covered by their insurance. In conclusion, reviewing the title insurance policy is an essential step in protecting property owners from potential risks, exclusions, and unexpected costs.

Reviewing the title insurance policy for coverage and exclusions FAQs

1. What is title insurance?

Title insurance protects against financial losses due to defects in property ownership. The policy holder pays a one-time fee, and the insurance company will defend against any claims against the title.

2. Why should I review my title insurance policy?

Reviewing your title insurance policy ensures you understand your coverage and any potential exclusions. It also allows you to resolve any disputes before closing on a property.

3. What should I look for when reviewing my title insurance policy?

You should look for the coverage included in your policy, any exceptions, and any defects in the property ownership history. Be sure to clarify any areas of confusion with your insurance provider.

4. What are some common exclusions in title insurance policies?

Some common exclusions in title insurance policies include zoning ordinances, government regulations, mineral rights, and environmental hazards. It is important to understand these exclusions before closing on a property.

5. What is the process for filing a claim on a title insurance policy?

If a claim arises, the policy holder should contact the insurance company immediately and provide necessary documentation and evidence. The insurance company will investigate the claim and determine if coverage applies.

6. Can I modify my title insurance policy?

You cannot modify the existing title insurance policy. However, you can purchase additional coverage or endorsements to expand the protection offered by your policy. It is important to speak with your insurance provider about any additional coverage you may need.

About the Author

As a native Washingtonian, Carlos Reyes’ journey in the real estate industry began more than 15 years ago when he started an online real estate company. Since then, he’s helped more than 700 individuals and families as a real estate broker achieve their real estate goals across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Carlos now helps real estate agents grow their business by teaching business fundamentals, execution, and leadership.

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