Title insurance to come to the aid for property buyers

To provide relief to 2nd hand property buyers facing legalities for property ownership, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set up a committee to launch Title Insurance.

Popular in the US and Europe, the policy protects an owner’s or lender’s financial interest in property against loss because of title defects and other matters. “It defends against a lawsuit contesting the title, or reimburses the policyholder for the monetary loss incurred, up to the amount of insurance provided by the policy,” says an official of a general insurance company. The official says this will be a product essentially for the retail individual category but will be sold to institutions such as banks and non-banking finance companies.

“The current method is expensive and time consuming. Though courts do favour buyers who have done due-diligence, it can take decades to finally win the case at different courts. Title insurance can further minimise such risks,” says Ashutosh Limaye, head of research & REIS at property advisory firm JLL. He says it can be cheaper for a flat and more expensive for a piece of land. That’s because evaluating a land title is more cumbersome where a lawyer would need to go through multiple government offices and development plans over the years.

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