Title insurance companies ensure that sellers have clear title to the property they are selling. The title insurance company’s agent performs a thorough search of the public records and certifies that the proper parties signed the paperwork, paid the taxes and discharged all liens each time the house changed hands.

Why then, does a buyer need title insurance if these searches are so meticulous? Public records can be incorrect if a mistake was made when the legal document was recorded. When you buy owner’s title insurance, you are protected against forgeries, misrepresentation and mistakes made at any point during the chain of ownership. Someone may have forged a deed, divorce papers or a death certificate. For a one-time premium, title insurance provides protection against title claims even long after you sell your home. Legal expenses and other costs are paid by the company to defend your title.

In Vermont, many title issues arise due to permit problems. One type of owner policy insures against loss arising from failure to have certain kinds of permits. Storm water issues are also making headlines and title problems could arise due to the complicated permitting requirements. Title insurance is like emergency oxygen on an airliner. You may never need it, but if you do, you will be really glad that you have it!