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What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance, unlike other forms of insurance, such as automobile or life insurance, involves a one-time premium, paid when you close the real estate transaction. When you purchase title insurance, you don’t have to make monthly, quarterly or yearly payments as you do with car and life insurance. Unlike medical and casualty insurance premiums, which are paid to insure against an unpredictable future event, title insurance guarantees that all events in the past have been cleared. This is an important distinction. Since a title company has searched and evaluated the condition of the title to your property, title insurance guarantees that the title company has not missed any items which may affect your property.

Types of Policies

There are basically two types of title insurance policies — one for property owners and one for lenders. Policies for both owners and lenders are written according to guidelines set down by either the California Land Title Association (CLTA) or the American Land Title Association (ALTA). All title companies in California can issue both types of policies. The standard in California is a CLTA policy for owners and an ALTA policy for lenders. However; some people do request the additional residential coverage provided by the ALTA RESIDENTIAL policy, which usually requires a physical inspection and covers some items not covered in the CLTA owner’s policy. Here is a summary of the types of policies and what they cover.

What is an escrow?

An escrow is an arrangement in which a disinterested third party, called an escrow holder, holds legal documents and funds on behalf of a buyer and seller, and distributes them according to the buyer’s and seller’s instructions. People buying and selling real estate often use an escrow for their protection and convenience. The buyer can instruct the escrow holder to disburse the purchase price only upon the satisfaction of certain prerequisites and conditions. The seller can instruct the escrow holder to retain possession of the deed to the buyer until the seller’s requirements, including the receipt of the purchase price, are met. Both rely on the escrow holder to carry out faithfully their mutually consistent instructions relating to the transaction and to advise them if any of their instructions are not mutually consistent or cannot be carried out. An escrow is convenient for the buyer and seller because both can move forward separately and simultaneously in providing inspections, reports, loan commitments and funds, deeds, and many other items, using the escrow holder as the central depositing point. If the instructions from all parties to an escrow are clearly drafted, fully detailed and mutually consistent, the escrow holder can take many actions on their behalf without further consultation. This saves much time and facilitates the closing of the transaction.

Who may hold escrow?

The escrow holder must be a disinterested third party. In California, the escrow holder may be a title company, a licensed independent escrow company or an escrow division of a real estate company. There are two important reasons for selecting an established escrow company. One is that real estate transactions require a tremendous amount of technical experience and knowledge to handle properly. The other is that the escrow holder will generally be responsible for safeguarding and accurately distributing the purchase price in accordance with instructions handed them. Escrow Officers with established firms are experienced and trained in real estate procedures, title insurance, taxes, deeds, and Federal and State regulations.


  • ” For last Six (6) years Nations Title Company has provided Title and Escrow services tomy organization. I appreciate companies unsurpassed service, attentiveness, accuracy,and care to my staff and clients. I highly recommend my colleague in the industry to utilize Nations title’s services.”

    Darrin Seppini, President at HomeLife Mortgage.

  • “I have worked with Nations Title for several years and their service has never let me down. A title company with friendly, knowledge people that actually answer my questions and go that extra mile to get things done.”

    Matt Dohman, Owner/President at Optimum First Mortgage

  • “In my opinion, Nations Title is a stand-out in the industry. The team’s knowledge and level of service is stellar. I recommend Nations Title with the confidence that my clientsneeds will be met. Nations Title will continue to be my first choice!!”

    Eddie Castillo, American Realty Center

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