When transferring property for corporate restructuring or estate planning purposes, an important issue to consider is whether the successor owner will be covered by the grantee’s title insurance policy. Because title insurance policies insure only the title of the “Insured” identified in the policy, the successor in interest of the named insured may not be covered following the transfer.
In older ALTA title insurance policies, the definition of “Insured” included the person or entity specifically identified in the policy as the insured, as well as any subsequent owners who took title to the subject property by operation of law. Because those policies did not clarify what the term “by operation of law” meant, it was unclear whether certain subsequent owners, such as a parent or subsidiary of the original insured, fell within the definition of “Insured”. In order to avoid any risk that a subsequent owner following a transfer between related parties was not covered by the grantor’s title policy, parties often obtained an “additional insured” endorsement which provided the subsequent owner coverage under the original policy.