To see how our industry is continuing to protect and serve our clients and communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, watch this video

Title Industry Responds to COVID-19: Our Title Is Protection

Title insurance professionals take pride in protecting their customers by ensuring that their home is theirs when they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the title insurance industry has stepped up even more to help their communities. Whether it’s volunteerism, or innovation to get deals closed during this time of social distancing, the title industry is here to provide protection today, tomorrow, and forever.



A Word About Title Language

The title industry has its own language. Many of its words and idioms are derived from the language of the law while others are common words given special meaning related to land titles. There are also words and phrases coined over the years by the title industry itself.



A person who is entitled to receive funds or property under the terms and provisions of a will or trust or insurance policy.


The instrument by which title to personal property is transferred or conveyed.


(1) Sometimes called “Preliminary Certificate.” It is a preliminary report as to the condition of a title and a commitment to issue a title insurance policy in a certain manner when certain conditions are met. (2) Also, a deposit in escrow of a small part of the purchase price of real estate as evidence of good faith and to bind an agreement to purchase.


A mortgage which covers all of a class of property or all of the property of the mortgagor. For example, railroads sometimes give mortgages on all of their cars and locomotives presently owned or to be acquired in the future, without specifically describing them. Or they may give a mortgage on all the assets of the railroad company.


(1) A written promise to pay to the bearer or owner a stated sum of money at a specified time, with interest usually represented by interest coupons attached to the bond. Coupons may be clipped as they mature and presented for payment. Bonds are sometimes in the form of Certificates of Indebtedness. Bonds are often secured by real estate mortgages. (See Promissory Note.) (2) A written commitment assuring the payment of a stipulated sum of money or the amount of damages in the event of an adverse happening. (3) A certificate of debt issued by a government or corporation guaranteeing payment to bearer of a specified sum of money, plus interest, on a specified future date.


One who acts as an agent for another in negotiating sales or purchases in return for a fee or commission.


A fee or commission paid to a broker.


Laws specifying the type, kind, area and manner of construction of buildings, and prohibiting construction or repair of buildings in violation of such specifications. (Also See Zoning Ordinances)


(See set back line.) A line inside the boundary lines of a piece of real estate beyond which no building may be constructed. Building lines may be established by municipal ordinances, restrictions, and subdivision plats.



A certificate issued by a title examiner stating the condition of a title. Usually more formal than an attorney’s opinion.


Beginning with a conveyance out of an original source of title such as a government, each succeeding deed, will or other medium which conveys and transfers the title to succeeding owners constitutes a link in the chain of title. The chain of title is the composite of all such links.


Another name for personal property as distinguished from real estate. An article of movable property. Also, the term applied to slaves and women before their emancipation.


A right to assert, or the assertion of, a demand for payment of money due; or the surrender or delivery of possession of property or the recognition or some right. A demand for something as one’s rightful due.


In some areas called a “settlement”. The process of completing a real estate transaction during which deeds, mortgages, leases and other required instruments are signed and/or delivered, an accounting between the parties is made, the money is disbursed, the papers are recorded, and all other details such as payment of outstanding liens and transfer of hazard insurance policies are attended to.