What kinds of problems can a title search reveal?

A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions. Among these are unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments against the seller and restrictions limiting the use of the land.

Are there any problems that a title search cannot reveal?

Yes. There are some "hidden hazards" that even the most diligent title search may never reveal. For instance, the previous owner could have incorrectly stated his marital status, resulting in a possible claim by his legal spouse. Other "hidden hazards" include fraud and forgery, defective deeds, mental incompetence, confusion due to similar or identical names and clerical errors in the records. These defects can arise after you've purchased your home and can jeopardize your right to ownership.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance is your policy of protection against loss if any of these problems -even a "hidden hazard" -results in a claim against your ownership.

How much could I lose if a claim is filed against my property?

That depends on the claim. In an extreme case, you could lose your entire home and property - and still be liable to pay off the balance of your mortgage. Most claims aren't that dramatic, but even the smallest claim can cost you time, money and aggravation, and you may have to pay costs for a legal defense.