For Consumers

Title insurance

When you buy a home or property, 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.

Ask your title insurance provider if there are any exclusions on your policy.

Who should consider buying title insurance

You might need it if you buy a home or property in Washington state. If your lender requires it, you'll need to purchase it.

Lender title insurance:

Your lender might 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 might 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 can choose to buy an owner’s title policy for the full price you paid for the property. Generally, most sellers pay for the owner’s policy.

You can choose your title insurance company

Most mortgage lenders will recommend a title insurance company, but the final choice is yours. Unlike other types of insurance, title insurance companies don’t market their products directly to you. They market to real estate agents and agencies, banks, lenders and developers.

How often you have to pay for title insurance

You pay for title insurance once. It's due when you close on your property. The cost is based on the value of the property you're buying. Your coverage starts the day the title insurance company issues it.