Benchmark Title Company, LLC


Components of a Title Policy
by Sarah Holdener, Esq.

I have been promising more details on the differences between the old 1992 ALTA policies and the new 2006 ALTA policies, and they will come, but first I thought an explanation of the basic components of a title policy would provide us a foundation for later policy discussions. 

All of the basic ALTA policy forms contain the same six sections, the first three being standard language that is pre-printed on a policy jacket:
(1)  The Covered Risks section list the types of title issues that the policy protects or provides coverage against.
(2)  Next the Exclusions from coverage describe broad subject matters that are not intended to be within the indemnity protection of a title insurance policy.
(3)  The Conditions provide definitions of terms, provide additional rights to the insured and describe the rights and obligations of both parties.
(4)  Schedule A includes information related to the particular transaction such as the date of policy, amount of insurance coverage, name of the insured party, a description of the insured mortgage, the insured vested owner of the land, and a legal description of the land.
(5)  Schedule B contains Exceptions to the coverage in the policy.  This includes general, or standard exceptions, and special exceptions.  Exceptions are intended to take away or limit coverage provided in the insuring provisions for a specific issue or item affecting the property.
(6)  Endorsements, if any, are attached.  Endorsements usually add coverage, sometimes they remove coverage, and occasionally they are issued to amend the Conditions of the policy.

The entire title insurance policy can be essentially read together as if a mathematical formula:

  +   Covered Risks
  -    Exclusions from coverage
+/-  Conditions of the policy
  -    General Exceptions
  -    Special Exceptions
+/-   Endorsements adding or altering the terms and conditions
  =   Coverage of the title policy

If you are like most real estate professionals, you are far more familiar with the Title Commitment than the Title Policy.  We all look closely at the Commitment before closing, but once that Policy is issued it goes right to the filing cabinet.  Well the Title Commitment is exactly what it's called - a commitment to issue a title policy to the parties and for land described in Schedule A under the terms listed in the commitment after certain requirements or conditions have been met.  These Requirements can be found in Schedule B1 of the commitment, and usually include items such as: a deed from seller to buyer, a release of seller's prior mortgage, a new mortgage from buyer to lender, release of any liens or judgments, payment of taxes, payment of title premiums and closing fees, etc.  After closing and upon the resolution of all open items, the Title Policy is issued in the form explained above.

Any questions can be directed to Benchmark Title at 618-239-3750. Please feel free to call or email: 

John Howe

Doreen Miller, Esq.
Commercial Division Manager

Sarah Holdener, Esq.
General Counsel,
VP Production

Michelle Null
VP Escrow Operations

Serving you from three convenient locations:

Main Office:
1124 Hartman Lane
Shiloh, IL 62221
Ph: 618-239-3750
Escrow Fax: 618-239-3707
Title Fax: 618-239-3757
Fax Orders: 618-310-1589
President: John Howe

318 North Main St.
Columbia, IL 62236
Ph: 618-281-9700
Fax: 618-281-9705
Manager: Randi Schur

4215 S. State Rte 159
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Ph: 618-288-1695
Fax: 618-288-1852
Manager: Sara Sowell

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   Employee Spotlight

 Sharon Burg

Sharon Burg, Assistant Vice President of Accounting, first ventured in to title insurance upon joining Benchmark Title in March of 1999.  She began working for Benchmark as a closing processor, then moved into construction disbursing.  She managed the construction disbursing unit before assuming accounting responsibilities.  Before joining Benchmark Sharon worked in construction for many years, most recently for a contractor who did both residential and commercial construction, handling construction disbursing and accounts payable.  Sharon lives in Collinsville with Jim Helgon, has a daughter, Michelle, and two grandsons, Kyle and Jacob.  Sharon can be reached at 618-239-3650 or by email at 

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