County Wide Abstract & Title Inc.

Records, Research, Results

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Title Insurance?
A Word About Real Estate
Real estate has traditionally been a family's most valuable asset. It is a form of wealth that is protected by many laws. These laws have been enacted to protect one's ownership of real estate and the improvements located on the land. The owner, the owner's family, and the owner's heirs have rights or claims in and to the property that you are buying. Those who may have an interest in or lien upon the property could be governmental bodies, contractors, lenders, judgment creditors, the Internal Revenue Service, or various other individuals or corporations. The real estate may be sold to you without the knowledge of the party having a right or claim in and to the property. In addition, you may purchase the real estate without having any knowledge of these rights or claims. In either event, these rights or claims remain attached to the title to the property that you are buying until they are extinguished.

The Past Can Determine Your Future
Generally, a person thinks of insurance in terms of the payment of future loss due to the occurrence of some future event. For instance, a party obtains automobile insurance in order to pay for future loss occasioned by a future "fender bender" or for the future theft of the car. Title insurance is a unique form of insurance. It provides coverage for future claims or future losses due to title defects which are created by some past event (i.e., event prior to the acquisition of the property.) These risks are far less obvious than those protected against by automobile insurance, but can be just as devastating. The following information will answer some commonly asked questions about title insurance.

Will You Get Clear Title?
It is of utmost importance that you receive clear title to the property when you purchase real estate. In order to do so, you must first be informed of any existing rights or claims that may, in the future, threaten your title and possession to the property. Title insurance provides you with this twofold protection.

How Do You Find Out What Claims Exist?
In order to determine the status of title, Countywide Abstract and Title, Inc. conducts a diligent search of the public records for those documents associated with the property. Countywide Abstract and Title, Inc. then examines those recorded documents in order to determine if there are any rights or claims that may have an impact upon the title to the property. The title search may reveal the existence of recorded defects, liens or encumbrances upon the title such as unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments and tax liens against the current or past owners, easements, restrictions and court actions. These recorded defects, liens and encumbrances are reported to you prior to your purchase of the property. Once reported, these matters can be accepted, resolved or extinguished prior to the closing of the transaction. In addition, you are protected against any recorded defects, liens or encumbrances upon the title that are unreported to you and which are within the coverage of the particular policy issued in the transaction. This is the first benefit you receive from title insurance.

What About Undiscovered Claims?
The title to the property that you have purchased could be seriously threatened or lost completely by hazards which are considered "hidden risks." "Hidden Risks" are those matters, rights or claims that are not shown by the public records and, therefore, are not discoverable by a search and examination of those public records. Matters such as forgery, incompetency or incapacity of the parties, fraudulent impersonation, and unknown errors in the records are examples of "hidden risks" which could provide a basis for a claim after you have purchased the property. In order to protect you against this possibility, Countywide Abstract and Title, Inc. provides insurance coverage for such claims. This is the second benefit you receive from title insurance.

How Does a Title Insurance Policy Protect Against All These Claims?
If a claim is made against your insured title, the policy protects you by: (1) Defending your title, in court if necessary, at no cost to you, and (2) Bearing the cost of settling the case, if it proves valid, in order to protect your title and maintain your possession of your property.

Title Insurance Protects Your Asset
Title insurance gives you the assurance that possible clouds on title to the property you are purchasing - which can be discovered from the public records - have been called to your attention that such defects can be corrected before you buy. Additionally, it is insurance that if any undiscovered claims covered by your policy arises out of the past to threaten your ownership of real estate, it will be disposed of, or you will be reimbursed exactly as your title insurance policy provides.

Only One Premium
Unlike other forms of insurance, the original premium is your only cost as long as you or your heirs own the property. There are no annual payments to keep your Owner's Title Insurance Policy in force.
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Why Do You Need Title Insurance?
To protect possibly the most important investment you'll ever make - the investment in your home. With a title insurance policy, you as owner, have an indemnity contract that will reimburse you for loss in the event someone asserts a claim against your property that is covered by the policy.

How can there be a title defect if the title has been searched?
Title insurance is issued after a careful examination of copies of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title hazards are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search.

What title insurance protects against
Here are just a few of the most common hidden risks that can cause a loss of title or create an encumbrance on title: 

  • False impersonation of the true owner of the property
  • Forged deed, releases or wills, Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney; 
  • Undisclosed or missing heirs;
  • Mistakes in recording legal documents
  • Misinterpretations of wills Deeds by persons of unsound mind
  • Deeds by minors
  • Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married
  • Fraud
  • Liens for unpaid estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes

What protection does title insurance provide against defects and hidden risks?
Title insurance will pay for defending against any lawsuit attacking your title as insured, and will either clear up title problems or pay the insured's losses. For a one-time premium, an owner's title insurance policy remains in effect as long as you, or your heirs, retain an interest in the property.

What this means to you
The peace of mind in knowing that the investment you've made in your home is a safe one.

If you have any questions concerning title insurance coverage, please call First Title LLC. We are here to assist you.
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Steps in the Process
Initial Request for Title Insurance
An order for title insurance is opened with our office. A Title Examiner is contact at the local courthouse where the subject property is located. A Title Commitment will be produced from the initial response promptly.


On-Site Searching and Examining 
Our Title Examiners performs three searches: Property, Name, and Tax searches. From that information, a preliminary report is created. Our on-site agent obtains hard copies of recorded documents. Imaging helps to expedite searches with the ability to obtain documents on-line.

Technical Review
The skill and expertise of our title processors is the key to providing you with a useful, accurate title report. Once the preliminary report is received by our office, the review begins by making a technical analysis of the documents of record. An interpretive view of all recorded matters is made to evaluate their impact on the title to the property. Among the questions that might be asked are: Would any of the recorded matters prevent the buyer/borrower from using the property for its intended purpose? Can antiquated leases be eliminated from the policy per a review of the current leases?

We Earn Your Respect with our Skills, Service and Solutions
We try not to point out impediments to the close of a transaction without also offering assistance and solutions. By understanding the sometimes delicate balance of the interests of the parties to a transaction, and by professionally and courteously handling issues as they arise, we can capably guide a transaction to a successful conclusion.

Documents in the Title Process 

  • Preliminary Report 
  • Commitment - Shows the condition of title in the way we are willing to issue it.
  • Policy - Final product. Contract of indemnity between named insured's and the company.

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21 Reasons for Title Insurance
Buying Property Is A Numbers Business

1.       A fire destroys only the house and improvements. The ground is left. A defective title may take away not the only the house but also the land on which it stands. Title insurance protects you (as specified in the policy) against such loss. 

2.       A deed or mortgage in the chain of title may be a forgery.

3.       A deed or a mortgage may have been signed by a person under age.

4.       A deed or a mortgage may have been made by an insane person or one otherwise incompetent.

5.       A deed or a mortgage may have been made under a power of attorney after its termination and would, therefore, be void.

6.       A deed or a mortgage may have been made by a person other than the owner, but with the same name as the owner.

7.       The testator of a will might have had a child born after the execution of the will, a fact that would entitle the child to claim his or her share of the property.

8.       A deed or mortgage may have been procured by fraud or duress.

9.       Title transferred by an heir may be subject to a federal estate tax lien.

10.   An heir or other person presumed dead may appear and recover the property or an interest therein.

11.   A judgment or levy upon which the title is dependent may be void or voidable on account of some defect in the proceeding.

12.   Title insurance covers attorneys’ fees and court costs.

13.   Title insurance helps speed negotiations when you’re ready to sell or obtain a loan.

14.   By insuring the title, you can eliminate delays and technicalities when passing your title on to someone else.

15.    Title insurance reimburses you for the amount of your covered losses.

16.   A deed or mortgage may be voidable because it was signed while the grantor was in bankruptcy.

17.   Each title insurance policy we write is paid up, in full, by the first premium for as long as you or your heirs own the property.

18.   There may be a defect in the recording of a document upon which your title is dependent.

19.   Claims constantly arise due to marital status and validity of divorces. Only title insurance protects against claims made by non-existent or divorced "wives" or "husbands."

20.   Many lawyers, in giving an opinion on a title, protect their clients as well as themselves, by procuring title insurance.

21.   Over the last 24 years, claims have risen dramatically.

We Hope You Never Have A Title Claim
Americans have the future in mind when they buy a house, and they purchase homeowner’s insurance to help protect that future. But with home ownership comes the need to protect the property against the past, as well as the future. Title insurance protects a policyholder against challenges to rightful ownership of real property, challenges that arise from circumstances of past ownerships. Each successive owner brings the possibility of title challenges to the property. When you.

Rely On Old Republic Title To Protect Your Investment
Every owner, purchaser and beneficiary, whether by a deed or contract, should have an insured title. The entire investment depends upon the quality of title. If you are buying real estate mortgages, you are paying for a good title and you should see that you have one. If either fire insurance or title insurance is omitted, your security is not complete. Our title policy protects you against unforeseen defects in title that an abstract or the public records do not show and cannot show…nor any attorney’s opinion includes. Whether this is your first or fiftieth real estate investment, ask your real estate agent or broker to specify County Wide Abstract and Title, Inc.  during your transaction.
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What are some ways to expedite my orders?
The following suggestions will help expedite your orders and inquiries:

  • Include all identifying information available when placing an order, including if possible: Tax ID/Parcel number(s), prior recorded Deed Book & Page numbers, legal description information, etc.
  • Input Loan Amounts on all orders.
  • If the order is for a Re-issue/Renewal, please indicate in the the Notes section of the order.
  • If property was previously searched and you have a policy from another title company, please fax a copy to Customer Service or attach an image to your order online of Schedule A & B and reference the Order Number. A Re-issue Rate reduction can not be given without a copy of the prior title policy, if issued by another company.
  • In the notes section of your order please indicate if you have an abstractor preference.
  • Indicate on your order if your loan involves a mobile home.
  • If there have been any name changes with your customer, such as through marriage or other legal name changes, please include the details with your order.
  • Indicate on your order if a recent Survey has been completed for the subject property.
  • When calling County Wide Abstract and Title, Inc., please have your order number of the file you are calling about and your customer file being referenced.
  • Always read the full Title Commitment (Schedule A, Schedule B-I-Requirements, and Schedule B-II-Exceptions).


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