What Is Title Insurance?

Since its emergence in the late 1800s, title insurance has become a fundamental part of home ownership in the United States. Without title insurance, far fewer Americans would own their homes.

A title insurance Owner’s policy requires just one payment, which protects the buyer for as long as he or she owns the home. If a financial claim against the property arises any time after the purchase, title insurance pays for the claim enabling the policyholder to retain ownership of the home.

Title insurance protects mortgage lenders as well as homebuyers. Clear transfer of title and legal guarantee of ownership reduces the inherent financial risk of each mortgage loan. In addition, the assurance of clear title enables lenders to "securitize" their mortgages by selling them to Wall Street investors. Securitization enables lenders to retain cash and thus make a larger volume of loans, at lower interest rates.

Title insurance and securitization are uniquely U.S. innovations that have contributed to our country's high rate of home ownership. By reducing the risk of mortgage loans, title insurance enables lenders to offer longer-term property mortgages with lower interest rates. These buyer-friendly financing opportunities make it possible for more people to own their own homes.