For Consumers

About title insurance

What title insurance does for you

When you buy real estate, you ’re buying all the assets and liabilities associated with that property. Title insurance:

  • Proves the seller has legal authority to sell the property.
  • Ensures there are no liens.
  • Covers problems due to fraud, legal issues and divorce claims in transferring title.
  • Protects you from prior forgeries, mistakes in legal documents and inheritance.
  • Protects you against someone challenging your ownership of the property.

Who needs to buy title insurance

You'll need it if you buy real estate in Washington state and you use a mortgage lender to finance it. You'll need to have both:

Lender title insurance:

  • Your lender will require you to buy a lender title insurance policy equal to the amount of your loan.
  • It protects your lender up to the amount of their loan, but it doesn’t protect your interest in the property.
  • Even if you refinance, you’ll need to buy lender title insurance. It will protect the lender from any issues that have come up since you bought the property, such as liens or easements.

Owner title insurance:

  • To protect your interest, you’ll need an owner’s title policy for the full price you paid for the property. Generally, most sellers pay for the owner’s policy.