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Is title insurance a one time fee & does it expire?

Doesn’t it feel like our calendars are filled with annual insurance premiums to pay, between home insurance, car insurance, income protection and the other ways we protect the things that matter? But there’s one insurance type that’s unlike the others. With title insurance, you have a true set-and-forget policy.

Is title insurance a one time fee?

Yes! Title insurance covers a range of common property ownership risks and it requires just one policy premium, which is based on your property location and property price. There are no recurring payments, and the cover applies for the entire time you own the property.

This one off premium is affordable, too. Let’s look at an example. At the time of writing, a residential property in NSW that was bought for $750,000 might have a one-off premium of $538.06. To get a clear idea of the cost of title insurance for your property, it takes just a minute to get a quick quote. You can arrange cover before you make your property purchase, or at any point afterwards. Your title insurance policy is active as of the day you settle on the purchase of your property and when the premium is paid.

So why consider taking out a title insurance policy? 

If you have title insurance in place, a successful claim could mean that you have financial and/or practical assistance if the following issues arise that you didn’t know about upon purchase:
•    Unapproved building works that were carried out before you owned the property.
•    Boundary fences that extend onto your land.
•    Structures that encroach on your land without your knowledge or consent.
•    Planning or zoning rules that weren’t disclosed before settlement, which stop you from using your property.
•    Errors on certain property searches and enquiries, or incorrectly calculated council rates.
•    Identity theft or fraud relating to your property.

It can be easier to understand this with a specific example. One of our clients purchased a property in Victoria. The building inspection report obtained for their property indicated no major concerns with the property. However, shortly after settlement, the client received advice from a builder that the garage couldn’t comply with building standards. The client made a building permit inquiry with the Council, who confirmed that several structures on the property, including the garage, were built without a permit.

The client had a title insurance policy with First Title and lodged a claim. We reviewed the purchase file and pre-purchase inspection report for the property and it was clear the client was not aware of the illegal building work. We paid to engage a building surveyor to assess the structures, who determined that the garage needed a full rebuild and the other illegal structures were eligible for a building permit as built.

After First Title Insurance approved the client’s claim, we agreed to make a settlement payment of $116,000 to allow the client to complete the required works on their own timeframe.

As you see, depending on your unique circumstances, the one off premium for title insurance could potentially be a smart decision. To see the full details of what can be covered, you can check out our important information and policy wording documents.

Does title insurance expire?

Not while you or your beneficiaries own the property. Once you’ve taken the policy out, it applies for the entire time that you own your property. The policy also applies for any beneficiary to whom the title is transferred after your death.

If you are about to own a property and would like to get additional peace of mind about common property ownership risks, then you can easily request cover now.