Do You Need Home Title Lock Insurance? What You Need To Know

Home title lock insurance is a service that claims to protect your home from title fraud, a type of scam that involves criminals stealing your identity and transferring the ownership of your property to themselves or a third party.

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Home insurance image[PPHOTO COURTESY OF JUBILEE]
They then use your home’s equity to take out loans or sell the property, leaving you with a financial and legal mess.

But do you really need home title lock insurance to prevent this from happening?

Here are some facts and tips to help you decide.

What Is Home Title Fraud?

Home title fraud is a form of identity theft that targets homeowners, especially those who have significant equity in their homes, own multiple properties, or are elderly or vulnerable.

The fraudsters obtain personal information about the homeowners, such as their names, addresses, and social security numbers, from the internet or other sources.

They then use forged documents and fake IDs to file a deed transfer with the county recorder’s office, effectively changing the ownership of the property from the legitimate owner to themselves or a third party.

The fraudsters can then use the property as collateral for loans, sell it to unsuspecting buyers, or rent it out to tenants.

The homeowners may not discover the fraud until they receive a foreclosure notice, a tax bill, or a lawsuit from the new “owner”.

How Common Is Home Title Fraud?

According to the FBI, home title fraud is one of the fastest-growing white-collar crimes in the United States.

However, the exact prevalence and impact of this crime are hard to measure, as it is often lumped together with other types of mortgage fraud and identity theft in official statistics.

Some estimates suggest that home title fraud costs Americans more than $10 billion a year.

The American Land Title Association, a trade group for the title insurance industry, says that it does not have data on the problem either, and that some companies that offer title lock services may use the claim of a growing threat as a marketing strategy.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Home Title Fraud?

The best way to protect yourself from home title fraud is to be vigilant and proactive about your property records and personal information.

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Insurance Home Policy [PHOTO COURTESY OF JUBILEE]
Here are some steps you can take:

1.Check your property records regularly.

You can do this for free by visiting the website of your county recorder’s office and searching for your property by address or parcel number.

Look for any changes or transactions that you did not authorize or sign, such as deed transfers, liens, or mortgages.

If you notice anything suspicious, contact the recorder’s office and report the fraud immediately.

2.Monitor your credit reports and bank statements.

You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once a year at [annualcreditreport.com].

Look for any inquiries or accounts that you did not initiate or recognize, such as loans or credit cards.

If you find any errors or signs of fraud, dispute them with the credit bureau and the lender.

Also, review your bank statements and online banking activity regularly and report any unauthorized transactions or withdrawals.

3.Protect your personal information.

Do not share your personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, or bank account details, with anyone you do not know or trust, especially over the phone, email, or social media.

Shred any documents that contain your personal information before disposing of them.

Use strong passwords and security software for your online accounts and devices.

Be wary of phishing emails or calls that ask you to verify or update your information or click on a link.

Do not open any attachments or links that look suspicious or come from unknown sources.

4.Consider getting title insurance.

Title insurance is a type of insurance that covers you in case there are any defects or disputes over the ownership of your property.

Unlike home title lock, which only monitors your title, title insurance actually pays for the legal fees and losses that you may incur if someone challenges your title or claims to own your property.

Title insurance is usually required by lenders when you buy or refinance a home, but it only covers the lender’s interest, not yours.

You can also get an owner’s title insurance policy, which covers your interest as well.

The cost of title insurance varies depending on the value of your property, the state you live in, and the title company you choose, but it is usually a one-time fee that you pay at closing.

Is Home Title Lock Insurance Worth It?

Home title lock insurance is not really insurance, but a service that monitors your title and alerts you of any changes or attempts of fraud.

It does not cover any losses or damages that you may suffer as a result of title fraud, nor does it provide any legal assistance or representation.

Home title lock insurance costs $19.95 a month or $199 a year⁴, which may seem like a small price to pay for peace of mind, but it may not be necessary or effective.

You can do the same thing that home title lock does for free by checking your property records yourself, as explained above. Moreover, home title lock may not be able to detect or prevent all types of title.

Conclusion

Home title fraud is a serious and growing threat that can cost you your home and your financial security.

However, home title lock insurance may not be the best way to protect yourself from this scam.

Home title lock insurance only monitors your title and alerts you of any changes, but it does not cover any losses or damages that you may suffer as a result of title fraud.

Moreover, you can do the same thing that home title lock does for free by checking your property records yourself online.

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